Exclusive interview with Marc Skinner before Man Utd Women v Aston Villa at Old Trafford

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There is so much talent in that team, it must be hard anyway to have to pick a team in general, but especially when it is a game at the Theatre of Dreams. Does it get a little bit more competitive now that everybody wants to play at the stadium?
”They all want to play at the stadium and they all want to experience playing for Manchester United and playing at Old Trafford, that emotion is heightened. For me I have to take that emotion out of it and I have to pick a team that can win the game. The beauty of it is you can pick different variants of the team that can win the game, we just have to maximise a game plan based on what the opponent can give us. It can go different routes and you can still win the game, but for me it is putting a team out in this moment that can win the way we want to win. We know how difficult that can be as this [Aston Villa] team that we are playing is a very good team that is growing in their experience too. We have to put a really good performance in if we want to win the game.”

We have already played Villa this season. Do you think that experience will help us, considering we have already had a first go at them this season?
”I think it will be a different game, as when we played at Bescot Stadium, which is their home ground, it was a very tight compact pitch, whereas we are good in spaces, we create spaces and we move the opponent. For us to find that, Old Trafford is a huge stadium and a huge pitch as well, our aim is to exploit the opponent, try and move them around the pitch, but also we have the beauty of scoring goals in different ways. Different people, different ways, so if you think you can defend against us one way, we can switch and attack you in another way. That’s where I wanted to grow from last year and I think we have. I think it will be a different game, but an equally tough opponent.”

How is everyone looking ahead of the game?
”Looking healthy. Everyone bar Aoife [Mannion], who is now back in full contact in training, with still the timeframe of, should she come through it, [playing] after Christmas. It is looking positive and everyone is up for selection, which makes it even harder!”

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