United Women in pre-season friendly action against Leicester

Skinner pleased with first pre-season run-out

Monday 28 August 2023 11:30

Marc Skinner was pleased with what he described as "a really good run-out" for his Manchester United Women's team in our first pre-season friendly.

The Reds took on fellow Women’s Super League side Leicester City at Carrington, with new signings Gemma Evans and Emma Watson named in the starting line-up.

A dominant start from United was rewarded early on when Hannah Blundell picked out Ivana Fuso on the edge of the box and the Brazilian forward fired into the bottom right-hand corner to open the scoring.

Martha Thomas missed the target when one-on-one with the goalkeeper and later hit the post with another effort, but the striker did put the Reds 2-0 up just before the break, converting a cross by Nikita Parris from the right flank.

Leicester pulled a goal back in the 70th minute and United had further opportunities to increase the lead in the second half through Parris, Watson and Lucia Garcia.

But the Reds were left to rue the missed chances when the Foxes equalised late on and the game finished in a 2-2 draw.

Highlights: United Women v Leicester City Video

Highlights: United Women v Leicester City

Catch up with the action from United Women's first pre-season friendly, against Leicester City at Carrington...

Although it wasn’t a winning start to pre-season, the head coach felt the match was good preparation for his players.

“Even though it’s only been like two or three weeks, pre-season seems like it’s been a long time without a game so it’s been really good to get them all together,” Marc told MUTV.

“It’s been brilliant to see the kids, especially in our environment as well. They finished the game strongly, some really good individual bits. I think that’s what we’re looking for in this moment - individual qualities.

“The team played well throughout most of the game. In all honesty, when we look back, we probably created seven goalscoring chances where we’ve got to score. But considering it’s a run-out, little bit of connections before we get all the team back together, it’s a really good run-out.”

United were still without some of our World Cup stars including England trio Mary Earps, Katie Zelem and Ella Toone, who played in the final in Australia.

Skinner was happy with how new arrivals Evans and Watson fitted in and feels moments of individual brilliance will be important for his team when the competitive action begins in October.

He added: “We try to build a philosophy where the players want to play together and they want to connect, they want to move as a whole team as I think what’s so special about our group is that we are a whole team so that will continue this year but with individual flair.

“I think that’s what needs to be added this year, individual moments where people can take a sticky game and win it for us. I think that’s going to be the difference this year. But it’s 60 minutes for most of the players and then 30 for some. It’s been a really good example of what we’re trying to build and from the first day I’m happy.”