Manchester United manager Marc Skinner has pointed to the togetherness of his squad as one of the main factors behind a 100% winning start to the WSL season.
Sunday’s comprehensive 3-0 victory over Everton was a fifth consecutive win since the start of the campaign, while the team is still yet to conceded a goal in the league.
Nikita Parris gave United an early lead, which was built on in the second half by Leah Galton and Hayley Ladd, the latter of whom walked away with the Barclays player of the match award.
Although obviously delighted with another victory, Skinner stated afterwards that he was even more pleased with the spirit in the squad, especially at the end of a week that included a shock setback against second tier Durham in the Continental Cup.
“Very pleased [with the win]. More importantly, I’m pleased with the way the group have been this week. There have been some players that haven’t had many minutes but will have an important part to play throughout this season,” the United boss said.
“Everyone has mentioned Alessia [Russo] coming back in but for me it’s the whole team. You don’t keep clean sheets or win games if your team is bitty and not together."
Summer signing Parris recently commented on the 'sisterhood' she has encountered at United, revealing she has never been part of a squad with such a close bond.
“We’ve looked great. But it’s the team togetherness,” Skinner continued. “I feel that this team is the most together team I’ve ever coached. It’s the characters. When we talk about Katie Zelem as a character…she’s definitely a gelling captain and brings people into the same area.
“But it’s just their acceptance of each other, their willingness to learn. I picked up a really good bunch of people. They’re really honest. There is obviously a sprinkling of stardust in there as well and a lot of quality. It's just [having] good people and just ready to fight for each other.”
United missed out on a place in last season’s WSL top three and the Champions League football it brings because of too many draws away from home. Everton was one of the critical games, drawn 1-1 after conceding an equaliser in the final 15 minutes.
“With experience, we grow, and we had that experience last year and learned from it,” Skinner reflected on the difference 12 months on, especially against an Everton side that has been objectively better this season than they were in 2021/22.
“We’ve been the better team in a lot of games but then not taken the chances. Maturity and time…that helps everyone.”