Tullis-Joyce is ‘an unbelievable goalkeeper’ but Earps is ‘the best in the world,’ says Marc Skinner

Addressing the media on Thursday evening after a Conti Cup victory against Leicester City, Manchester United’s Marc Skinner previewed his side’s upcoming Barclays Women’s Super League fixture against Liverpool this weekend.

Matt Beard’s teams are ‘always difficult to beat’

Asked for his assessment of Liverpool this season, Skinner opted to praise Matt Beard, insisting that ‘when you play against [Matt] Beardy’s teams, they’re always difficult to beat.’

‘There are some teams that if you play well [against them], you can almost guarantee that you’re going to win whereas this team are not that team – you have to beat Liverpool.’

‘Our last two games [against them] have been really, really tight but yeah I always find Liverpool one of the most difficult teams to play against in the league, I really do.’

The two sides met in the Conti Cup just under a month ago, with the Red Devils escaping as narrow victors after Nikita Parris’ first-half strike at Prenton Park.

‘What the league wants to do is lock your best players up’

Skinner was quizzed as to whether his side have diversified their goalscoring exploits this season, with goals shared more evenly throughout the squad in comparison to last season.

‘Even though Alessia [Russo] and Leah [Galton] were the outright goalscorers last year, I think there were two or three, maybe even four occasions where we had 5-0s, 6-0s, and we had different goalscorers on all of those occasions,’ recalled the manager.

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‘This is about a team – there are many ways we can explain how a team plays, but how they work for each other and how they supply each other is another form of that. We have the quality, what this league wants to do is lock your best players up so that you can’t play. What we want to do is unlock a different player in each moment so that they can give us a solution.’

‘We’re looking for solutions – if they block, we need a dribbler. If they only give us width, we need someone that can head from crosses and that’s the beauty of our team. That’s the beauty of our team and in fact, I’d actually like some of them to be more ruthless and maybe not pass up opportunities and take their own chances. Tonight [against Leicester City], some of our forwards could have had two or three each – we created that many chances!’

‘Phallon is an unbelievable player’ but Mary is ‘the best in the world’

As rumours begin to swirl in preparation for the upcoming transfer window, Arsenal have once again been linked with the acquisition of United’s Mary Earps. Skinner was asked how he plans to phase Phallon Tullis-Joyce into the side more frequently, and whether a potential start in the WSL could be on the horizon.

‘We’re building towards Phallon [Tullis-Joyce] being ready to [play in the WSL],’ he explained, going on to add that ‘the hardest thing for Phallon in this moment is that Mary’s obviously an unbelievable goalkeeper, but the reality is we actually have the plan to build Phallon into these spaces and into these moments.’

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‘People often think that every player you sign is ready to start playing, playing, playing, playing – but no, we often have to sign players, get them used to our league, used to our style and then we grow them into the team.’

‘The reason we’ve gone with Phallon is she’s an unbelievable player but right now, Mary is an unbelievable goalkeeper too – the best in the world so she’s always at this moment our #1.’