Zelem: We have to be brave

Wednesday 10 April 2024 11:48

Manchester United Women's captain Katie Zelem says she and her team-mates will have to be 'brave' against Chelsea in this Sunday's huge FA Cup semi-final.

With a big crowd expected to be in attendance at Leigh Sports Village this weekend, Marc Skinner's side are set to be roared on by a strong following on home soil.

Having been beaten by Chelsea in last season's showpiece event at Wembley, the chance for redemption will be at the forefront of every Red's mind and Zelem is no different when it comes to her own approach.
"I think that’s definitely the difficult [thing]," said the 28-year-old midfielder. "When you’re facing the biggest teams, you’ve got to be perfect for the whole 90 minutes.

"If you switch off once, you can be punished. In the FA Cup final, in that first half, if we’d taken our chances, it could have been two or three-nil.

"We need to make the most of moments like that and keep working on them.

"Our record v Chelsea isn’t what we’re after, but some of our performances have been, and slight tweaks could have seen results go the other way."
As the clock continues to count down ahead of Sunday's crucial cup tie, Zelem is hoping our home support can have a huge say in proceedings.

As it has the ability to spur the Reds on, the United captain explained in her interview with the official matchday programme how she is glad most inside Leigh Sports Village will be partisan in their way of support.

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"I guess from a fan perspective, a neutral ground would be better," added Katie. "It would be exciting.

"But in this case, no, I’m quite happy! We enjoy playing at Leigh and we’ll have more fans than them.

"But if we were on the receiving side of an away draw, this answer might have been a bit different.
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"There will be nerves for this one, especially knowing it’s a one-off game to reach a final.

"But I think that’s something you’ve just got to embrace. Nerves can be a good thing as long as they’re channelled in the right way.

"We’ve got to be brave playing Chelsea. It’s at our home ground. We have our fans. We’ve got to channel all that positivity."

The full interview from Katie is available in Sunday's programme. You can view it here or, alternatively, purchase a printed copy at Leigh for £2.