Skinner prepares for make or break Manchester derby in Continental Cup clash

Under-fire United boss, Marc Skinner ‘hopes to right wrongs’ with derby win.

The United boss has come under increasing pressure from supporters since their defeat to Liverpool before the winter break in the Women’s Super League.

However, it is Gareth Taylor’s City that have more to play for tonight; they are two points behind their Manchester rivals and a loss for them would knock them out of the competition.

United currently sit top of Group B having not put a foot wrong in the League Cup so far and are likely to progress even if they slip up tonight.

Regardless of United’s prospects, a section of fans have made their feelings clear about Skinner’s future.

‘Skinner Out’ placards and chants followed him all the way to the team’s training camp in Malta whilst the loss at Chelsea this past weekend further cemented fans fears that he is not the right man for the job.

In his pre-match press conference he was asked about the pressure he was under.

“Pressure is what you make of it. I think as a manager there will always be things you get wrong and right and that’s not just when it comes to the football.”

Debate over Skinner’s future has caused a massive divide amongst the fanbase.

Mike Lisle, a member of the Manchester United Women’s Supporters Club said: “Some of his tactics and decisions, I question. On the pitch there are issues and I think a top class coach would see and know how to fix. To go to the next level they might need a different approach.”

However, the squad has been plagued by injury this season which Lisle points out as a mitigating factor in the team’s poor run of form.

“He’s lost two of his new signings, Gabby George and Emma Watson, to ACL’s, Irene Guerrero has been injured, Hinata Miyazawa [too], so I don’t think he’s been able to field his best 11 that he’d have wanted to which is unfortunate but he has to deal with what he’s got.”

As the team were defeated at Chelsea and fell 10 points behind the league leaders, players such as Rachel Williams were seen on videos circulating social media, telling fans to lower their ‘Skinner Out’ signs.

Fellow member of supporter’s club, John Devonport said: “I’ll never publicly hold signs up asking for his head as a Manchester United fan. We let the people at the club take care of management. We can make our disapproval known sometimes but holding up signs is disrespectful.”

As the WSL title looks out of site for the Reds this season and possibly Champions League qualification, United are more hungry than ever for silverware in one of the cup competitions.

Andy Slater, Editor of United fanzine, The Barmy Article, said: “The dreadful league performance and shrinking chance of getting top 3 adds a bit of extra saving grace to the Continental Cup, especially considering our performances in the competition so far.”

Meanwhile, City will be desperate not to get knocked out by their Manchester rivals especially given their history in the competition; the Blues have won the League Cup four times.

City fan, Emma Meredith-Shone, reiterated the importance of the competition to the club: “Having enjoyed previous successes in the competition, it offers the prospect of silverware whilst contributing to the club’s overall growth and dominance in women’s football.”

She added: “It provides valuable opportunities for squad development and showcases City’s prowess in various tournaments.”

However, City boss Gareth Taylor said in his pre-match press conference hinted that he was unlikely to rotate.

He said: “We’re here to win. It’s about creating as much rhythm as we can and sometimes that is going with the same team.”

The game kicks off at 7pm and is likely to be a fiercely contested match with a lot riding on the clash for both managers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.