Durham goals ‘avoidable’ but Manchester United displayed mental strength says Skinner | OneFootball

Durham goals ‘avoidable’ but Manchester United displayed mental strength says Skinner

Logo: FAWSL Full-Time

FAWSL Full-Time

Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner said that he was disappointed by the ‘avoidable’ goals conceded at Durham last night but he was pleased with the calmness and mental toughness shown by his side in the penalty shootout.

The Red Devils were twice pegged back by the FA Women’s Championship high-flyers after taking the lead with their opening FA Women’s Continental League Cup group game being forced into a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw in normal time. Skinner’s side conceded both goals from set piece situations. Manchester United did go on to score all five of their penalties in a 5-3 success.

When speaking exclusively to FAWSL Full-Time after the match, Manchester United boss Skinner highlighted the goals conceded as ‘avoidable’ but went on to say that he was more pleased with the character shown by his side to win the shootout.

“It is, it really is (avoidable),” Skinner said. “I suppose that’s the story of some of the goals that we have conceded, even when we look at the Chelsea game, they were avoidable goals. That’s where you get frustrated as a coach but I think at least it’s controllable, we can do something about it.

“For us, we are just going to keep working, this is a massive working project and I think this is 70 days in charge. We are just learning about each other a lot more in games and as people and how we can push forward.

“The best thing from tonight was that we got them in the huddle going into the penalties and we said ‘look, there are going to be horrible games and you have to wrestle to take it in the magic moments’ and they did that, they were very calm and their penalties were excellent.

“The moments where the psychological challenges come in, if you want to get to finals and win them, if you want to get to big games and win them, it’s a psychological edge. I thought we were very good, that was the biggest positive for me tonight that when the moment mattered, we took the moment. We shouldn’t have got ourselves in that position but we did, we took the moment when it mattered so I was really pleased with the reconfiguration of their mindset going into that penalty shootout.”

Opponents Durham matched Manchester United in all areas throughout the 90 minutes and there never looked to be a one-league gap between the two sides. Lee Sanders’ side were organised, resolute, determined and they showed glimpses of attacking quality despite not really having an outlet in the number nine position. Commenting on the challenge posed by the FA Women’s Championship side, Skinner said that the hosts played really well which then gave him an opportunity to see what his players were made of.

He said “Obviously, we would have liked to have won the game but credit to Durham in the way that they approached it and never really let us off the hook when we got our noses in-front.

“They made it difficult but that’s good for me because I get to see what these players do under the psychological stresses of the game. Sometimes games can be comfortable in possession and you switch off for a moment but they made it difficult for us.

“Although, we didn’t get the result that we wanted in the 90, I was obviously pleased with our reaction in the penalties so there were some real positives in the end.”

Manchester United now go into an extended international break which should allow the players some time to rest following a congested opening few weeks of the new season. The Red Devils don’t return to action until 7 November when they travel to The Hive to face Tottenham Hotspur.

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