Skinner: Derbies are different

Friday 09 December 2022 10:00

Manchester United Women head coach Marc Skinner says that form goes out of the window in derby matches, as he prepares his side to perform against local rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The Reds make the short trip to the home of Man City in the WSL, with Skinner’s Reds looking to follow up the midweek win over Everton in the Continental Tyres League Cup.

Ahead of the match, the United boss met with the media on Friday morning, and gave an update on the shape of his squad going into the blockbuster fixture.

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"There's assessments and stuff this morning, [but] the only one we are waiting a little bit on is Adriana Leon,” he said.

“She went down with the flu the other day, so we're just monitoring her. She could be back in today, but it just depends on how she feels.

“Apart from that, everybody else is fit and healthy."

The form of Skinner’s side in the league this season has been well documented, with the massive away win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium grabbing the headlines and signalling a massive step for the Reds.

Sunday’s hosts are on a good run themselves, though, with City looking to record their 10th consecutive victory in all competitions.

"Manchester City have the capability to be able to go on run like that,” Skinner said of their form. “I think it was Chelsea that they last lost a game to and if you look at the league, Chelsea was the last one we lost to. 

“So it will be an interesting summary and event to see where we're at. But I have a lot of respect for our neighbours and what they do and what they've achieved, but that comes back to us planning extra and making sure we do our business.

“Regardless, I think as much as we know they can go on a run, we have to make sure we put in performance to stop that."

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Of course, there is added spice that comes with derbies, and Skinner believes his side are in for a tough test, but one they can overcome.

"A derby, it becomes a different game,” he said. “It relies on momentum; it relies on moments.

“We know both teams in this game will have spells of possession, will have spells of chances [but] it's a slightly different game. Regardless of form, regardless of history and results. It will be tough.

“We know their players have a lot of qualities but so do we. I'm hoping it will be a very exciting one for people to watch."

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While the match is being held at the Etihad Stadium, Skinner believes that recent matches at the Emirates, and Old Trafford, will have prepared his side well for the size of the crowd and the sort of atmosphere that will greet the Reds.

"It's huge, It's hugely important,” he said of the experience of playing in big stadiums. “More importantly, I've watched our team perform in those venues, in front of those fans. When we go into this game, we can look back three or four weeks and have the experiences of that. I think it's important that we utilise that as much as possible.

“Manchester City will be galvanised by their fans, but if we can turn it the other way and perform straight from the off, you can try and quieten those fans and then [the] momentum [shifts] your way.

“We have to try and do that, and we know how difficult it will be, but all I can say is that we have to focus on how we can perform in this game and try and minimise their qualities and maximise ours."