‘We have to make Tottenham slip,’ stresses Manchester United boss ahead of Wembley showpiece

Manchester United’s 2023/24 campaign rides on the result of Sunday’s Adobe Women’s FA Cup final. The Red Devils’ only remaining chance of silverware sees them prepare to face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, with a new name guaranteed to be etched onto the trophy come mid-afternoon.

Previewing the match in his Friday morning press conference, Marc Skinner expressed hope that Tottenham’s inexperience in finals may affect the way the game is played. He stressed: ‘Experiencing the final is new if you haven’t done it before… It can be a moment where it can absorb you and affect the way you play [so] it has to be a business for us.’

‘We have to be in the business game of picking the right moments to attack, defend and manage this game.’

He’s hoping that Manchester United’s defeat on the very same stage a year ago at the hands of Chelsea can motivate his team, explaining that ‘when that hurt hits and you feel it and you can recall it, it can be an extra driving motivating factor – and that’s how you have to use it.’

‘If we use the feelings of it to drive us forwards, hopefully that’ll give us a little edge,’ Skinner added, before later going on to admit that ’the first final, I’ve never watched back because it hurt at that moment.’

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Robert Vilahamn’s Spurs have been labelled as the underdogs ahead of the match, and Skinner explained that ‘we’re playing a team that’ll be buoyed by that. We won’t underestimate it. Whatever tag people add to it, we know what we’ve got to do.’

‘You’d be a fool to go in super, super confident that you’re going to walk this final,’ commented Skinner, who went on to suggest that his side’s ability to lift the trophy on Sunday rides on whether they can make Spurs ‘slip’.

Tottenham ‘have kept their style,’ he praised, ‘but you also have to be careful with that, because it can hurt you. If in big moments you slip for a second, you can be hurt. We have to make sure that we make Tottenham slip.’

The Lilywhites have been using yoga to remain calm and composed ahead of Sunday’s silverware decider, and asked whether Manchester United have deployed any similar tactics, Skinner commented that ‘every month, they [the players] will go together and do team events.’

‘It’s about that constant reinforcement of that togetherness. Our team want to be in each other’s company.’

With reports breaking in recent days suggesting that Nikita Parris turned down a big-money move to the NWSL due to her desire to see out the rest of the season with United, Skinner stressed that the player is ‘100% committed to what’s going on’ at the club.

‘I’ve read the reports that you’ve read,’ he told journalists on Friday. ‘What I can promise you is that Nikita is a fantastic player. Look at her numbers, the way she’s played and the role model she is.’

‘For me, the way she supports this team, you can tell she’s 100% committed to what’s going on at Man United and that’s what I welcome.’

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