Having played his part in Women’s Football Weekend in seeing his Manchester United team return to the top of the WSL, Marc Skinner will not be watching as Chelsea attempt to overtake his side again.
“I’m not nervous,” he said, regarding Chelsea travelling to take on fellow WSL title challengers Manchester City tomorrow. “Someone is dropping points, which is good for us.
“The reality is I haven’t seen my daughter today, I will see her tomorrow and we’ll have some family time. There’s nothing we can control tomorrow, so why worry about it.”
Ultimately Skinner and United did their job in the second half to see-off a solid but limited West Ham, scoring four after the break to send the 27,919 fans at Old Trafford home happy.
Despite the 4-0 score, this was United winning ugly. They created little for the first 51 minutes until getting the breakthrough from the penalty spot, and scored twice late on to add gloss to the result.
Skinner admitted his side had been far from their best in the first half, with the manager visibly frustrated on the touchline.
He said: “It’s the cliche tale of two halves, we were not quick enough first half, not progressive enough, we didn’t get beyond the lines enough.
“At half-time we had a few words with each other, that we did not give the energy we needed. We were much better in the second half.
“I don’t think we were bad, we were trying to figure out West Ham’s high press and didn’t go beyond it enough, they were sitting off. We needed to get between the lines quicker, we didn’t do that enough in the first half so we made some little adaptations.”
One of those adaptations was the introduction of Lucia Garcia as a second half sub, the winger scoring twice including a beautifully taken finish from an Ella Toone through ball for the second United goal.
Skinner’s reluctance to rotate his squad too much – United were unchanged from their defeat at Chelsea in their last WSL fixture – has led to Garcia’s chances being limited this season, but he was full of praise for the Spaniard here.
“We had a meeting with Lucia on Wednesday, we reviewed the Lewes game where she didn’t play anywhere near her best,” he said.
“She was great after that meeting and great today. We signed her because she can do that [her performance against West Ham] for 90 minutes, she just needs time to settle.
“The way she moves, the way she presses, she was excellent. Now we have nearly a half of footage to show her the Garcia we need.”
Skinner could turn to Garcia for the final six games of the WSL season as United chase their first top flight title just five years after the women’s team was formed, alongside established starting XI stars such as Mary Earps and Alessia Russo.
Both Lionesses required first half physio treatment, which would have concerned Sarina Wiegman and England fans, however both played on and Skinner confirmed both were fine and smiling after the game.
For now, attentions turn to second versus fourth at the Academy Stadium tomorrow, where Chelsea must win to regain top spot. Skinner however rejected the idea that they have piled much pressure on the Blues.
“What’s important for us is that we had less energy in the first half and a lot more in the second, that’s perfect for us,” he said. “We’ve got stuff we can learn from that, we haven’t won anything right now.”
Whether he gets through family time on Sunday without checking his phone for the Chelsea score remains to be seen.