Stoney wins Manager of the Month award
Casey Stoney has won the League Managers Association (LMA) Women's Championship Manager of the Month award for February 2019.
The Manchester United Women head coach was rewarded for the Reds' fine league form last month - which saw us pick up six points from our two games, in away wins to Leicester City Women (7-0) and Sheffield United Women (4-0).
Although the Reds were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in the Continental Tyres League Cup semi-final, Stoney's side also recorded impressive victories against Brighton & Hove Albion (2-0) and London Bees Ladies (3-0) in the SSE Women's FA Cup.
'THIS IS FOR THE TEAM'
“It’s fantastic,” Casey told MUTV as she reacted to the award. “The panel are very respected within the game, so for me to win this as voted by them means a lot.
"But this isn’t for me, it’s for the team and that means players and staff because they work tirelessly every single day to put performances out there [on the pitch], which enables us to be able to pick up awards like this.
"If I could put everyone’s names on it I would because everybody contributes. Yes, it’s me that gets the accolades, but I’ve got fantastic staff, I’m at a fantastic club and I’ve got 21 great players. You put that all into the mix and you’re going to do well.”
ANOTHER AWARD FOR UNITED WOMEN
This is the second time Casey has scooped the award, after she won it in November 2018 for the Reds’ three wins that month - including the impressive 4-1 victory against title rivals Tottenham Hotspur Ladies.
It’s not just the United manager who has cause for celebration, as forward Ella Toone was awarded with the Player of the Month award for February and was presented with the trophy ahead of the Reds’ game against Leicester on Sunday.
United Women began March in a similar vein to the previous month when storming to a superb 6-1 victory against the Foxes at Leigh Sports Village.
First-half goals from Mollie Green, Lauren James and Kirsty Hanson saw the hosts lead 3-0 at the interval before Toone netted a fourth in the second period, and Jess Sigsworth’s brace ensured it was another winning afternoon for the Reds.
'WE NEED TO BE A LOT BETTER DEFENSIVELY'
After the game, Stoney gave an indication of the high standards she expects from her side, despite winning 6-1.
“I think initially, yeah it's great scoring six goals and there were some great finishes in there and some decent passages of play at times," she told MUTV after the match. "But I thought defensively it was one of our poorest displays.
"We need to be a lot better in that area, but listen, it's hard sometimes in terms of just making sure we're at the right levels.
"But we've got no excuses, we've conceded a goal today and Siobhan [Chamberlain] has had to make a couple of saves. It probably could have been more [for Leicester] but that's a good thing because we can fix it, put it right and analyse it to make sure going into next week we're much better in those areas."
'WE PREPARE ONE GAME AT A TIME'
Sunday’s result means the Reds cut the deficit to Tottenham at the top of the table to just two points, and with United having played one game less and facing a trip to Spurs at the end of month, the title is still in our hands.
However, Stoney insisted she and her squad are not getting ahead of themselves, despite the chance of winning a title in our debut campaign.
“In terms of the way we prepare, we go game by game,” said Casey. “I’m not really a huge one for looking at the table. I believe if we win every game we win the title and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
It’s not just in the league where United could finish the season with silverware, but also in the SSE's Women's FA Cup, with the Reds facing a huge quarter-final clash against Reading Women on Sunday afternoon.
You can watch that game live on MUTV, with kick-off at 14:00 GMT.
United Women's winning returnGallery
See pics of our women's team playing for the first time in 18 days...
Stoney and her players will be hoping to avenge our 2-0 defeat to the Women's Super League side in August’s Continental Tyres League Cup clash, when the teams meet again at Wycombe Wanderers' Adams Park.
“It’s going to be a different test against Reading,” said Stoney.
“They’re at a lot higher level than Leicester and that’s no disrespect to Leicester, but they are because they’re a WSL1 team. So, we need to make sure that we learn from today. We start preparing on Tuesday for Reading and we want to go there and we want to put on a good performance.”
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