Manchester United Women

Katie Zelem: Man Utd's 'fun & energetic' playing style is Marc Skinner's personality

Jamie Spencer
Katie Zelem has spoken glowingly about Marc Skinner's personality & playing style
Katie Zelem has spoken glowingly about Marc Skinner's personality & playing style / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages
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Manchester United captain Katie Zelem has explained manager Marc Skinner has injected his own ‘energetic’ personality and passion into the team's playing style ahead of the new WSL season.

Skinner has had the luxury of a full pre-season this summer, compared to being appointed only five weeks before the start of the 2021/22 campaign last year and having to build on the go.

Skinner didn’t have the opportunity 12 months ago to put his own stamp on things and at times last season it was clear he was playing with an inherited squad, rather than one built in his own image.

Now, with a year under his belt to implement his ideas and seven new faces boosting the depth that had been lacked, the United boss has own squad better suited to playing the way he wants to.

“How Marc is as a person is how we play our games and you can see what he has implemented into the team...a fun energetic style of play and I think it really suits the characters and players we’ve got,” Zelem told Barclays WSL media.

“For us, it’s great having Marc as a manager and we want to keep building on last year.

"The words I use to describe the team are energetic, together and fiery,” she added, saying she would use the same words to describe Skinner.

Skinner, who built a Birmingham side that won more WSL games than Chelsea in 2018/19 before then heading to the United States with Orlando Pride, spoke openly last season about what he wanted from United this summer and next season.

Key for him was targeting attacking players in the transfer window to provide him different options to kill off the kind of games that proved costly to United’s top three hopes last season – four new forwards are among the seven new signings.

“I would love a fluid system where we all interchange, but I don’t want robots. I don’t want to be a boring team,” he has passionately said of his preferred style.

“It will look like hunger, the opponent will not get a second to breathe,” he added. “They fear stepping onto the pitch because they know we can press high, we can defend deep, we can play through, or over [the top], we can run, we can dribble.

“I want us to have a variance where teams don’t know where the next punch is coming from. I want a team and toolbox of qualities from our players that allow us to adapt. If [an opponent] blocks up, this is the team, if [an opponent] looks to counter, this is the team.

“I want more variance in the way that we can approach games.”


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