Skinner: Chelsea the toughest challenge we will face

Friday 12 April 2024 09:53

Marc Skinner is prepared to face the ‘tough challenge’ of Chelsea in the Adobe FA Cup semi-final on Sunday.

The Reds are aiming to reach the final for the second season in a row but face the current title holders at Leigh Sports Village.

It’s the first game since the international break but Skinner believes his team are ready to fight all the way.

The United boss spoke to the press about the challenge, Lauren James, his contract and also gives an injury update.

Marc Skinner says United will give our all in Sunday's semi-final.


“Chelsea is probably the toughest challenge within football, especially in England. I think they have proven before that a setback isn't something that necessarily bothers them. They try to obviously win the next game. We have to be at our very best. We have no doubt about that. We've got to be humble enough to work hard. We've got to sacrifice and suffer without the ball but, when we get it, we got to show an abundance of personality. If we can do that, I have no doubt we can beat any team, let alone a team that's as good as Chelsea. We are preparing for an epic fight - a big, big game.

"I think if we prepare mentally for that and we give absolutely everything, then we can win the game. We also need to make sure that we do that, then it's action rather than words. I think we have to put our everything into action and give it all the energy we have. We have to use our fans, and our fans have to be with us from minute one to wherever. It could be extra-time and penalties. They need to be with us throughout all of it, but all of us are going to have to sacrifice to be successful because this is the the hardest team to play against."


"Having  watched Lauren James, she's a fantastic player, but Chelsea have a lot of those. So you could prepare for her and then somebody else will pop up. But we also have those players. We have game-changing players and players that can win games. We have to have a focus on how you beat individuals within that team as well, because of the talent pool. From our perspective, I think, when we go into duels with James, you have to be strong, you have to read what she's going to try to do, which is very difficult.

"But we also know there's going to be moments of luck within this game for doing both. For both teams. There'll be chances and we've got to take them, when we make them. I don't think it's a special kind of conversation around one particular player because I'm sure Chelsea will have to do the same for us, but I think you have to have an awareness. And when she comes into your area, you have to be prepared to know how to deal with her."


"I think their success over the past seasons and beyond is something that everybody  wants to replicate. Not necessarily their kind of style of playing  the way that they do things. But [it's] their success and I think nobody can ever doubt that. So that's what we want to emulate, which is a success, but we want to do it in the Manchester United way. It's a tough, tough ask. Everybody goes ‘You’ve got to beat Chelsea’. Well not many teams do. I think, from our perspective, we have to give everything in this game and I believe, on our day and when we have our qualities and we work hard, we can beat anybody. If we do that, then I believe we'll be in a position to progress into the final of the FA Cup."

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"Talks are ongoing [with my contract]. As you can imagine, I’ve got a pretty important game  this weekend anyway. We will continue  to have conversations. I think the team are in a fantastic place, and we're growing off the field, as well as back on the field. My focus is just on the field, at the minute, and we're going to make sure we go very well in this game on Sunday.

"I'm at a club that not only do I love the history of it, I love what's going to come in the future. It's it's a club that has fantastic fans, like incredible fans. Of course, I want to stay. I want to build success. We want to build success over a long period of time, so I'm absolutely on board with that. As soon as there are any updates, we'll obviously let you know, but my job remains firmly in the focus of the team and what we're going to do."

Marc Skinner says his main focus is obviously on the semi-final.


"The players come in this morning, so, it'll be the first time I've seen them, but I've not had any reports of any other additional injuries. Everybody else should be availableand up for selection for the team this weekend."


Make sure you come down to Leigh Sports Village on 14 April and 21 April, and Old Trafford on 18 May, to support United Women in our remaining home games this season:

Sun 14 Apr: Chelsea, FA Cup semi-final (14:35 BST)

Sun 21 Apr: Tottenham (12:00 BST)
Sun 18 May: Chelsea (15:00 BST)**

**This game is being played at Old Trafford

You can buy tickets for every United Women's home game here.