Marc Skinner

Skinner: Leicester will be a great challenge

Friday 10 September 2021 16:34

Manchester United Women’s head coach Marc Skinner says that the Reds will be firmly focused on maintaining our strong start to the season when we visit Leicester City this weekend.

United beat Reading 2-0 in the opening round of 2021/22 Women's Super League matches last Friday and now the newly promoted Foxes lie in wait as the hosts for our first away outing of the campaign this Sunday. 

The game at 14:00 BST will be played at the Midlands club’s King Power Stadium and will be our inaugural WSL meeting, after Leicester secured promotion to the division for the first-ever time by being crowned champions of last season's FA Women's Championship. 

Despite that, Jonathan Morgan's side are a familiar outfit for the Reds, having got the upper hand in our FA Cup fifth-round meeting, in the final game of the previous campaign.

Preview: Leicester City v United Women  article

Ticket info, the lowdown on the Foxes and more, ahead of Sunday's trip to the Midlands.

With that and Leicester's first performance of the season in mind, Skinner acknowledged the task ahead of his side in his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon and it is one he believes will differ from that of our previous opponents Reading.

"It’s a different challenge. Even though they lost on the first day, I was very impressed with how Leicester approached that game,” he told reporters via video link.

"They’re going to be very direct, they’re going to try and attack. So, it’s about controlling that and using it to our benefit. 

"We will grow every game. Our aim is to focus on every single detail of every game and Leicester will be a great challenge for us. We’re going to put our full focus into it."

With regards to team news for our trip to the Midlands, Skinner says defender Kirsty Smith is a doubt, but that he will have a full squad to choose from otherwise. 

The Scotland international has sustained a knock in training according to the boss, and is therefore not a certainty to be available for Sunday’s WSL encounter at the King Power Stadium. He provided the update along with a general report on his squad’s health. 

"The only one we’re looking at as a potential doubt is Kirsty Smith," said the head coach. "She just picked up a little knock in training so we’re going to monitor her. 

"She’s the only one really that is going to be a doubt for us. Everyone else is fit and fighting to be in the team."
Smith could miss the trip to Leicester, but Skinner says our no.20's situation will continue to be monitored.
Speaking of player availability, the boss was also asked for an update on forward Ivana Fuso who had recently received a Brazil call-up for their two upcoming friendlies against Argentina, later this month. 

Whether Fuso would join up with her national team was a doubt however, due to current travel and quarantine restrictions, and Skinner has now confirmed that the player and her country's football association have come to the mutual decision for her not to go to the September camp.

"Ivy’s had a good conversation with the national team and at this moment they’ve decided together that it would be safer with where we are for her to not attend this camp, and both parties are happy with that and have a good understanding," said Skinner, during his pre-Leicester press conference.

Reds receive September call-ups article

Find out which members of Marc Skinner’s squad are in line to represent their nations later this month.

"It’s just the world that we live in at the moment, and I love the fact that we’re very adaptable and it was a really grown-up conversation, and we fully support that decision.

"It’s difficult and you can understand it from a club perspective, as well as an individual and a national perspective, so it’s about coming to those common grounds within it."