‘We don’t want to waste money,’ says Marc Skinner after Manchester United’s quiet transfer window

Manchester United manager Marc Skinner spoke to the media on Friday morning, previewing his side’s upcoming clash in the Barclays Women’s Super League with Brighton. In an official statement yesterday evening, the Seagulls announced that manager Mel Phillips would be departing the club effective immediately.

Speaking on the news, Skinner said ‘I thought she’s done a fantastic job, and I really don’t know more than that. I wish her all the very best, I’m actually on my Pro Licence with her so I wish her all the very best. Maybe it changes the context of the game on Sunday because we don’t know whether they’ll continue their game plan or not, but all I can do is wish Mel the very best. She’s done a good job.’

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The departure of Phillips from his upcoming opponents may place extra pressure on Skinner, as fans continue to call for a review of his managerial position. Manchester United concluded last season with an 81% win rate across competitions, something that has been remarkably hard to replicate as the quality of the Barclays Women’s Super League continues to rise.

Skinner spoke in regards to the pressure that may be placed on Super League bosses, reflecting on how he believes respective football clubs have to maintain the construction of the philosophy that the club aims to fulfil.

‘There are many metrics that an ownership group will look at, and I think they are different for each team. My personal one is to look at the performance that will be able to maximise your results. Last year our results were fantastic in terms of win percentage, like crazy. You’re always going to be judged to that, and that’s a part of the job.’

‘I think it’s all on each individual model, and I think the coaches know that when they go into that. I think if you stray against that you will know exactly where you’re at. From my perspective you can try and win games of football, but you have to fall in line with what the club want from you.’

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After what was an increasingly busy summer window for the Red Devils, it was a very quiet January in Carrington as Manchester United welcomed no new arrivals during the winter transfer window. After previously stating his desires to be ‘aggressive in the market’, the lack of January movement came as a surprise for many. Speaking on the lack of movement from the club during the movement, Skinner put it down to a lack of desirable targets at this point in time.

‘It’s about bringing the right people in, and in this moment that wasn’t the case. So the club and the team will not spend money that we’ll waste. We don’t want to waste money, so we’re in a position where the right people weren’t there.’

The transfer window has proved costly for Manchester United in the past, with a prime example being the rejection of Arsenal’s world-record transfer fee for England striker, Alessia Russo. The Red Devils were said to have turned down an offer of up to $500k from the North London club, before seeing Russo depart on free terms just months later.

With Mary Earps making no movement during this winter window, Manchester United fans are now beginning to feel the heat of déja vu upon the looming expiration of Earps’ contract in the coming summer.

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Monday evening saw the Conti Cup fiasco head to the FA Tribunal, after Carla Ward’s Aston Villa fielded an ineligible player during their group stage fixture with Sunderland – a situation that could have had significant repercussions for Skinner’s Manchester United side.

The tribunal awarded the fixture’s three points to Sunderland, meaning Aston Villa would still progress to the competition’s quarterfinals as one of the top runners-up. The decision to not disqualify Ward’s side from the competition cemented Manchester United’s collateral exit from the league cup, however.

Speaking in regards to the incident, Skinner reflected ‘I don’t believe there is a scope to challenge it [the decision]. It’s obviously disappointing but it’s something we have to take.’

Skinner further added that ‘we are disappointed to be out, but we will move on very quickly. I think it might inform future rules on the competition. But, right here right now we’re out as it stands, and simply we have to move on.’

Manchester United will be back in Barclays Women’s Super league action this coming Sunday, as they host Brighton Hove & Albion at Leigh Sports Village.