Manchester United need ‘business-like’ approach to sold-out Women’s FA Cup final
Marc Skinner believes stripping the emotion out of a sold-out Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley can help Manchester United claim their first major trophy.
Sunday’s showdown between United and Chelsea is a 90,000 sell-out, setting a new attendance record for a women’s domestic club match outside the Women’s Champions League. But United boss Skinner has promised to treat the occasion as a “business-like event”, saying he has learned lessons from Manchester City beating his Birmingham team 4-1 in the 2017 FA Cup showpiece at Wembley. Skinner said: “What we got wrong at Birmingham is that we made it a massive event. We made it bigger than it should have been. “Everyone knows it’s a big deal, but we put quotes on the wall from players and families. We made mistakes, and that was naivety. “It became an emotional event rather than a clear business-like event. “You can celebrate after if you win the cup and be as emotional as you want, but the reality is there’s going to be enough emotions in the game that we need to save them up. “I’ve learned from that and we have to manage stages of the game better than we did at Birmingham. These are the factors we are looking to develop for this one.” United’s women’s team have had a remarkable rise since their formation in May 2018. They were promoted from the Championship in their inaugural season and currently top the Women’s Super League, holding a one-point lead over serial winners Chelsea who have a game in hand. Emma Hayes’ Chelsea are chasing a third successive league and cup double, but Skinner insists the Wembley clash will have no bearing on the title race. He said: “I’m not thinking about that at all. I am solely focused on a one-off game. “For the first time I’ve allowed our players to separate the games and we are looking at this before two difficult games in the league (against Manchester City and Liverpool). “This has no effect in our league and we are going to treat it as such, play it as the one-off event that it is.” Skinner is adamant there is no extra pressure on him on Sunday, even though women’s football will be under a fierce spotlight both in the stadium and around the country with a nationwide television audience. “It’s not pressure I don’t have every day,” said Skinner. “I even think there’s more pressure on us than Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester City because we are Manchester United. “I feel that because every Manchester United fan will want us to win and we are huge around the world. “I’m sure there will be some nerves, but I’m fuelling my focus and attention to maximise this because, if we win, it will be massive.” United captain Katie Zelem is available after suspension as Norway defender Maria Thorisdottir misses out with the foot injury that ended her season prematurely.
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