Casey Stoney instructs her players.

Stoney proud despite derby defeat

United Women’s head coach Casey Stoney says she is immensely proud of her side’s efforts during Saturday’s derby defeat to Manchester City.

The Reds went down 3-2 to our local rivals City in the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup, with Ellen White (2) and Jill Scott on target for the visitors, outweighing Lauren James’s second-half strike for United and Lauren Hemp’s own goal.

However, the outcome could have been very different for the Reds had the officials decided Abbie McManus’s 70th-minute attempt crossed the line when City were losing 2-1. Replays seemed to suggest the ball had done just that but, to the disappointment of Stoney and her management team, a goal wasn’t given.
Lauren James shoots.
James scored United's first goal of the afternoon.
“I think it’s over the line,”
the United boss told MUTV after the match.
“I’m disappointed for the players because I think they deserve more, but I couldn’t be any more proud of them.

“They executed the game plan, they went toe-to-toe and we’ve had chances to potentially get ourselves in the hat [for the next round]. They never fail to make me proud and today I am proud, despite being disappointed.

“They’re gutted because they deserved more out of the game. Unfortunately they didn’t get it, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort or a lack of fight and passion. I can’t ask for any more.”
Casey admitted her side did grow into the match and said United looked a little tense in the opening half, before dominating the majority of the second period.

“I think there was an element of nerves in the first half,”
said the boss.
“I think we were turning the ball over too much and we were a little bit nervy.

“We didn’t need to be - we’re a good enough team to make sure we’re settled, calm and composed and compete against these teams.”

The introduction of Lauren James after an hour played a huge part in United’s revival and Casey revealed Wednesday’s huge Continental League Cup semi-final clash against Chelsea was a factor in not selecting the forward from the off.

“That’s what she can do,”
Stoney responded, when asked about the youngster’s excellent contribution on Saturday.
Manchester City Women celebrate scoring.
Scott's late goal ultimately proved to be the difference between the sides.
“We have a big week with three games and we need to make sure we manage minutes. We were managing her today, but she’s come on and made a huge difference for us.

“There will be disappointment in there [our dressing room],”
she added.
“We’ll reflect and we’ll learn, but we can’t be disappointed for too long - we’ve got a semi-final to try and win on Wednesday.”

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