Marc Skinner: ‘Togetherness’ made difference in comeback win against Everton

Marc Skinner was full of praise for his side’s second-half performance at Leigh Sports Village in his post-match press conference, after they recovered from conceding a painful early goal to tenth-placed Everton.

Katja Snoejis pounced on a defensive error in the opening minutes of the game to give Everton an unexpected lead. Mary Earps was furious when Maya Le Tissier’s overly casual pass fell into the path of the Dutchwoman, gifting them the opener, and there were angry words exchanged on the pitch.

Reacting after the game, Skinner said: ‘If things happen on a field in an emotive environment, you naturally have emotions. It’s really important that you discuss those so we had a short brief conversation at half time – you’ve only got 15 minutes so you can’t have a kind of deep meaningful [conversation]. But that’s what senior players do, and I’m proud of their reaction after, proud of the conversations at half time, [and] proud of the resilience shown in the second half.’

The Reds bounced back in the second half with Millie Turner heading home their first, followed by a brace for Ella Toone, and Leah Galton adding a fourth to finish proceedings. Skinner said: ‘I’m pleased with the players from half time – their reaction, how we spoke at half-time with each other in a fashion of togetherness and that was the difference when we came out second half. We were energised by each other and that was the biggest difference.’

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Discussing Ella Toone’s performance, which saw her become the first Manchester United player to score fifty goals for the women’s team, Skinner was also positive. ‘What people don’t see with Ella Toone is that actually, especially the last 10 weeks or so, she’s been working on finishing as an extra.’

‘Every day – ‘I want to do a bit more, I want to do a bit more’. She’s hungry and she’s in a really good space and today those finishes – although they seem easy, you’ve got to concentrate, and that is the difference. She’s right in a really fantastic headspace and there aren’t many people that will score 50 and 51 goals for this club, or for any club, and that shows the special nature of the player, the character, and I hope she goes on to [score] hundreds because she can be a real legend of her own fantastic club.’

The game also saw Hinata Miyazawa and Leah Galton come back from injury, with the latter scoring United’s fourth and final goal. The Red Devils manager stressed the importance of their return: ‘It’s important they come back because we’ve got a big run in at the end of the season [and] we’ve got to give absolutely everything.’

Looking ahead to United’s next game after the international break, the Adobe FA Women’s Cup semifinal against holders Chelsea, Skinner said: ‘We know that we’ve got to be ruthless in both ends because Chelsea will create chances, because that’s what they do. If they don’t, they’ll put four players on of international quality that can do the same.’

‘I think for us it’s just about going in with the right mindset that actually if you’re ready to go to war in that game, because it’s going to be an all or nothing, if you’re willing to put your body, mind, spirit on the line – you can achieve great things and that’s what we’re going to have to do.’