Skinner: It was a winnable game
United Women's head coach Marc Skinner believes that his side should have came away with more than just a point from the Bescot Stadium on Saturday afternoon, after the Reds were defeated on penalties in the Continental Women's League Cup by Aston Villa.
Rachel Daly's second-half strike cancelled out Nikita Parris' first-half opener to make it 1-1 at the end of normal time and earn each side a point, but a penalty shoot-out was played out to determine which team took home a bonus point in the Continental League Cup Group A.
Despite Sophie Baggaley saving three penalties in the shoot-out, Skinner's side were ultimately defeated, ending the Reds' perfect record at the start of 2022/23.
Following the loss, Skinner said that despite his squad rotation - which saw the United boss make nine changes to his starting XI for the trip to the Midlands - he felt his side should have came away with a positive result.
"Today was a winnable game for us," he said. "We didn’t rotate for the sake of it. We rotated international players into our team.
"After two games, coming into the third game, it’s a good moment to give them an opportunity.
"We’ve had golden opportunities and we have to take them."
The Reds went in at the break a goal ahead, following a strong first-half performance, but Skinner believes his side were made to pay for letting Villa back into the contest in the second period.
"For me, we have two leading positions in the game," he said, "I’ve just said to [the squad], ‘most games are about psyche.' We must win the games when we’re on top.
"So when we’re winning 1-0, we don’t let a team in. When we’re winning on penalties, we don’t let a team in. That’s what I’m going to keep challenging our players to do. It’s that psyche to turn us into that team that we want to be.
"We have to be psychologically strong in those moments to score and win the game. That’s something we’re going to continue to work on.
"I’m not going to accept from a Manchester United team for us to dip in performance at any point. We have to remain psychologically strong and finish games."