Skinner: Manchester United Won’t Underestimate Leicester

Impetus’ Holly Wright was in Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner‘s media conference today ahead of this weekend’s trip to Leicester City. The Red Devils’ chief underlines the importance of going flat-out against the WSL strugglers on Sunday (19/10/22).

Above: Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner. Photo: Manchester United Women.

Having won their last nine games at home in which they have scored twelve goals and not conceded since Arsenal found a way past them almost a year ago, Manchester United hit the road where they have struggled to emulate their home form and travel to Leicester City.

Head coach Marc Skinner insists that ensuring a lack of complacency is key despite the teams being at opposite ends of the table: “If we look back to last season, it was a different kind of situation. We wanted to recruit in the summer so that we could adapt and find different ways to be a different opponent.

“When we play Leicester this weekend, I think the biggest thing for us is that we will not take Leicester lightly. I think complacency can be a real beast for any team that aspires to be successful. I’ve got to make sure that we don’t get complacent at any point and for me, I have nothing but respect for every team in this league.”

Skinner added how it’s important to stay mentally switched on against a team that are the underdogs. “We will never underestimate any team. We have got to make sure that we select the right team and focus in the right ways.

“We have already started today looking at ways in which we can beat Leicester but the one thing we won’t do is take anything lightly. We have to be at our very best again to beat a Leicester team at a very big great stadium. We are going to find ways to make sure that we stave off any complacency.”

Above: Lydia Bedford, Leicester City’s head coach, someone that Marc Skinner has huge respect for. Photo: FA WSL.

The Manchester United chief was full of admiration for Leicester City and head coach Lydia Bedford’s progress since taking charge in November 2021 claiming that they are progressing in the right way after having a total rehaul. “I think it’s difficult because when Lydia went there, she had to turn around a team that wasn’t necessarily hers.

“We have obviously loaned Carrie (Jones) there who won’t be able to play against us, but we wouldn’t have done that if we didn’t feel that Leicester was a great space or a great place that people can keep progressing and get better. I think it’s been a tough start for them. I think when you look at who the games were against in particular the Aston Villa game it was a case of the old cliché ‘a game of two halves’.”

Looking ahead to the game on Sunday, the former Birmingham City manager identified the ways that Leicester can create problems for his team on the pitch. “They have lots of quality. They just need to try and piece everything together. They have clear threats, which we have to make sure that we control what we can to stop them getting those opportunities but there is nothing we will take lightly.

“We have got to be at our very, very best in every game. There’s a short number of games this season. It’s easy to get up for what people would say is the bigger games, but for us, this is a big game. We are travelling away, we have got a great home form and now we need to make sure we translate that onto the field and into our away games. We will be taking them with the utmost respect that they deserve.”

There will be a number of absentees from Skinner’s squad this weekend as they continue their recovery from injuries sustained. Alessia Russo is still recovering from the injury that forced her to withdraw from the England squad earlier this month as well as the league game at Brighton last weekend.

“Alessia is still the same. She’s progressing nicely again on the field and returned to training for the first time last week alongside her rehab she is probably around two or three weeks away from recovery. Other players who will miss out on the trip to Leicester are Grace Clinton, Hannah Blundell, and Ona Batlle. Skinner provided an update on how each of those players are getting on in their rebab.

Above: Hannah Blundell – likely to miss United’s trip to Leicester City on Sunday. Photo: Manchester United Women.

“Grace Clinton won’t be available. She’s back on the grass training, which is good. Hannah is back in individual training. It was more precautionary on the weekend, she felt something so it’s just important that we don’t overdo it. Ona is again testing better so we’re just making sure that she’s healthy, and safe but every day, she’s getting a little bit better. We will follow the protocol that’s needed. We’re lucky enough to have a full-time doctor so she gets care all the time. So yeah, there’ll be no risk to Ona. She’s progressing nicely every day. We will see towards the game that weekend.”

What has been clear to see this season is the strength and depth of the United squad with numerous different goal scorers hitting the back of the net which was on the agenda over the summer – something which has been key to the Red Devils’ positive start to the campaign.

“I think we’re growing in experience, which is what we needed. There were moments last year when we were exceptional, like really, really great and it’s consistency. That’s what the additions to the team have allowed us to do – find different ways to score goals. I think the most impressive stuff for me is the different amount of scorers we’ve had, which shows that we are a team rather than exceptional individuals.

“We want to be a team and we want to help each other and I think that’s going to be the difference. It’s a good start but that’s all it is. That’s really all it is. We have got to make sure we stay grounded stay level and do the best in every game which starts again against Leicester this weekend.

Manchester United will look to continue their unbeaten start to the 2022/23 WSL campaign against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Sunday afternoon’s match will be broadcast live on the FA Player with kick-off at 3pm.

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