Marc Skinner: ‘It’s going to look like a failure’ if Manchester United don’t reach FA Cup final

With the Barclays Women’s Super League out of reach, and after a controversial elimination from the Conti Cup, Manchester United’s hopes of silverware this season lie solely with the Adobe Women’s FA Cup. Marc Skinner addressed the media on Thursday morning, as the Red Devils prepare to face Brighton in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Skinner’s squad may be bolstered by the return of Jayde Riviere, who ’is now potentially available’ to face the Seagulls this weekend – and the United boss added that ‘barring the long term injuries, everyone else is available and ready for the game.’

Pressure has been mounting on Marc Skinner since the dying stages of the 2022/23 season. The Red Devils missed out on beating Chelsea to the Barclays Women’s Super League title by just two points, while also falling to defeat against the Blues in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

An early elimination from the UEFA Women’s Champions League this season could be highlighted as the turning point for fan perception of Skinner – as another potential trophy slipped out of Manchester United’s grasp. Since their reformation in 2018, the Red Devils are still yet to lift any silverware, and Skinner insists that the Adobe Women’s FA Cup remains their target.

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‘That would be success,’ he told reporters in Thursday’s pre-match press conference. ‘You’re winning a trophy, that’s what we want to do for this young club. I must stress that you’re comparing us to the best season [2022/23] that we’ve had in the history of our women’s team. So, of course if you fall short by any means, then it’s going to look like a failure.’

‘But, there’s a lot of growth that has happened this year. There is a lot of adaptation that we’ve made, a lot of future planning that we’re already doing going into these next seasons. We get a moment to focus on the FA Cup, and we’ve got to give everything in that. Beyond then, we’ve got to try and perform.’

Skinner added that while his team have fallen adrift of the race for European qualification, he still feels confident that his players are motivated. ‘Sometimes it’s better having a team that are self driven in moments, and I think there is a nice blend of that,’ he explained.

‘I don’t feel at this minute that this team need motivating. They are ready to go in to this weekend with all the energy they need to try and progress in this competition.’