Skinner credits Reds’ mentality

Sunday 06 February 2022 13:08

Manchester United Women’s head coach Marc Skinner has praised the mentality that his side possessed during Saturday’s trip to Arsenal in the WSL.

The Reds had led for much of the game away to the league leaders, courtesy of Alessia Russo’s early opener, but would be pegged back late on with the sides going on to share the points at full-time.

Despite the natural disappointment at seeing United not quite get over the line for another statement victory over the Gunners, Skinner had nothing but praise for the way his players approached the encounter from start to finish. 

Report: Arsenal 1 United Women 1


Marc Skinner's side earn a 1-1 draw at the home of the WSL leaders.

Speaking in his post-match interview with MUTV, our head coach shared his admiration for the way his team battled together and the attitude that they displayed.

“Nothing but credit for the players,” Skinner said.

“We switched off for a moment for their goal, but we’ve just come off a three-game week where we’ve travelled away, away, away and we’ve shown the connected nature and the special team spirit that this group has.

“We’ve come to Arsenal and shown just how good we can be. We mixed our style up today, it wasn’t what we’d particularly love to play when we’re fully fluid, but the pitch wouldn’t allow that.

“So, our players were able to adapt and what a wonderful psychological growth in our players because at the end, we’re disappointed not to take the three points, rather than just [being content at] taking a point.”

Russo’s goal was her second on Arsenal’s home patch in a matter of weeks, following her winner in last month’s Continental Tyres League Cup tie. It had set United on the way to extending our winning run in the WSL but was cancelled out on 79 minutes by Stina Blackstenius’s all-important equaliser for the hosts, who had captain Katie McCabe dismissed for a second bookable offence a short time before.

Marc explained the frustration his side felt after conceding the late leveller – the first league goal against us since we last played the Gunners in November – saying that we will use it as a learning curve.

“[It’s] super frustrating because of the nature of the goal,” Skinner admitted while speaking pitchside.

“We’ve defended brilliantly today, our players have been in the best positions, we’ve marked correctly, we’ve been as aggressive as we asked them [the United players] to be, but we switched off for one moment.

“But what we’ll do is we’ll learn, we’ll be better at that, and we’ll stop that happening and that just takes time, our connected natures and all of our conversations.”

After three games in the space of seven days, the Reds will now have a full week between our next outing, which comes in the form of a Manchester derby, away to City on Sunday (13 February). 

Ahead of that one, Skinner discussed what his side can take from the draw with Arsenal and what the messages will be on the training ground this week, as we prepare for next weekend’s match at the Blues’ Academy Stadium. 

“It will be all about how we’ll concentrate, how we’ll be effective from nought to 90 plus.

“But what I will take [from the draw with Arsenal], is just another notch in that connected team, another notch in the belief that we can go anywhere and stamp how we want to play on the game.

“We’re going to keep working to make sure we put games into our control as much as possible, then we’ll create chances to take the game, to win the game.

“We must continue to do that and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”


The first United Women's match to be played in front of fans at Old Trafford is due to kick off at 12:00 BST on Sunday 27 March*, against Everton. For more details, or to book your seats now for this historic game, visit our dedicated tickets page.

*Fixture date is subject to broadcast selection changes.