Marc Skinner: We welcome pressure & expectation at Man Utd

Jamie Spencer
Marc Skinner has said that success is expected at Man Utd
Marc Skinner has said that success is expected at Man Utd / Charlotte Tattersall/GettyImages

Manchester United manager Marc Skinner has insisted that he ‘welcomes’ pressure and expectation because it is part of the drive for success that is ingrained in the very fabric of the club.

United only reformed a senior women’s team in 2018, but the historic accomplishments of the men’s team over more than a century and the club’s global standing as a whole has meant that the demand for the women’s side to be competing at the top of the game has grown rapidly.

After narrowly missing out on Champions League qualification again at the end of last season and recruiting heavily in the summer, United have started the new campaign in fine form – four WSL wins on the spin, 11 goals scored, none conceded, and only second in the table rather than first because they are alphabetically lower than an Arsenal side with an identical record.

United have cruised to home victories against Reading and Brighton, as well as enjoying a relatively comfortable away win over West Ham at the site of one of last season’s most significant slip-ups. But a 1-0 victory away at Leicester this past weekend was a little sluggish and lacked the same panache from previous games, with the team grinding out the win as opposed to making light work of it.

Given Leicester’s poor start to the season, which has seen them remain point-less at the foot of the table, social media has been awash with fans demanding even higher standards despite maximum points on the board so far.

But that level of expectation where nothing other than being the best is deemed acceptable is part and parcel of what it means to be a Manchester United, fan, player or coach.

“I said when I first came here that pressure is just part of this job,” Skinner explained this week.

“The way you use pressure is your choice. I want the fans to be expectant, of course I do. But our fans are also very aware of how we’re growing, what we’re trying to achieve here, the performances, the types of wins we’ve been getting, four clean sheets in four league games.

“They’re aware of all the winning points that we’re progressing with. Like them, we want to win as well. The pressure is part of what we do and it’s something we enjoy and part of everything that is our DNA at Manchester United. We welcome it.”

Skinner has previously said that he wants the pressure that the players put on themselves to be a driving force behind the club’s charge to the WSL top three, citing the example of what the likes of Ella Toone, Mary Earps and Alessia Russo went through with England en-route to Euro 2022 glory.

“There is nobody from an outside source who will put more pressure on themselves than these players,” he said back in early September. “I set the bar very high in here in terms of what we want to achieve, but I’m also very realistic and I think that’s a nice balance.

“The pressure for me should be thriving under pressure. If you lose a game at Manchester United it can be the end of the world so I’m ready to deal with that pressure.”

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