Manchester United Women head coach Marc Skinner is excited for the test against Chelsea this weekend.
The Reds return to Women’s Super League action as the Blues visit Leigh Sports Village for a big clash at 12:30 BST on Sunday.
Following a perfect start to the season, with two wins from two, United welcome the reigning champions for what should be a cracking game in front of our faithful supporters.
In Friday’s press conference, Skinner confirmed that the Reds are fit and ready for Sunday’s challenge after the international break, which has seen plenty of action for the Reds.
“They’re great,” the head coach said about his players following the league pause.
“There’s a bit of tiredness, some have travelled a bit of a distance, so there’s always going to be that tiredness after international games. Most have had a really, really good experience, so once they’ve had their sleep, and they’re in the time zone, that will play itself out. There’s no injuries ahead of it, so we should be good to go.
“It’s been a good experience overall for them, and what will hopefully bed in well, going into the game against Chelsea.”
Our head coach is pleased with what he has seen from his players so far this term and looks forward to facing last season’s Champions League finalists.
“It’s been great,” Skinner said about our start to the campaign.
“More importantly, I’m way more enthused by the players’ energy and what we’re asking them to do. I don’t want to give any cliché answers but I’m very pleased with where the team is at.
“Chelsea is going to be a different challenge to Leicester, a different challenge to Reading. They’re the second-best team in Europe. It’s going to be a great challenge. It’ll be good to see what we can do to the best team from last year in this league.”
The former Orlando Pride head coach also feels Sunday’s encounter will be a great test of the squad’s mentality.
“We have to get to a point where we look at this as a different type of challenge,” he said before explaining further.
“We have to be more consistent every game, not just when we raise our game against Chelsea, not when we play against teams sitting lower in the league at this moment. We’ve got to raise our game against everybody. I’m more interested in how we challenge our own mindset in this game than what necessarily Chelsea will bring.”
Hannah Blundell changed blue for red in the summer and our manager was asked about her introduction into the United set-up.
“Hannah was always one of those that if she got a different space to grow it was going to be good for her but that doesn’t mean she didn’t do wonderful things at Chelsea when she had the opportunity to,” Skinner emphasised.
“You know, Emma [Hayes] has got a wonderful group to pick from but I think this is one where we talk about a different coach, team… it just allows a player to grow in a different way. I think she’s showing a lot of quality she already has.”
The boss thinks our defender will look forward to facing her former team-mates on Sunday.
“I know she’s going to relish to play against her former team,” the 38-year-old said.
“I think she’s been really classy, that’s how I’d put it. She defends well and I think you will have the chance to see a consistent Hannah. That’s no fault as to what happened at Chelsea, it’s just a part of the squad they developed over the years. It’s great to see her, great to have her and I think she’s a full-back that will give Sarina [Weigman] some thoughts going into future camps, hopefully.”
The match between the Reds and the Blues at Leigh Sports Village kicks off at 12:30 BST on Sunday.