What Casey Stoney told Manchester United players ahead of derby win vs Man City
United faced City for the second time this season in their opening game of the Continental Cup and ran out 2-0 winners over Nick Cushing’s side thanks to goals from Katie Zelem and Jess Sigsworth.
Stoney’s side have only been established for 15 months and after earning promotion in their first season they are now looking to make their mark in the Women’s Super League and a win against current league leaders City at Leigh Sports Village has given the players the confidence they can compete at the top.
“My message before the game was ‘You belong at this level now and you have to start believing it’ and my message at the end of the game was ‘Do you believe it now?’ The credit is fully theirs,” Stoney said. “They competed for 90 minutes, they were defensively brilliantly organised and we pressed and won the ball back. The free kick (Zelem’s goal) was excellent and the second goal was an outstanding piece of football.”
United suffered defeat against City on the opening day of the season in a hard fought game which was won by a Caroline Weir wonder strike and Stoney said the lessons they learnt that day helped push them to victory in the cup.
“I think the first 45 minutes against City at the Etihad was key because it gave us the belief that we could compete and it was about them feeling comfortable to go out there and express themselves,” Stoney said. “I think we have shown we can compete. We are 15 months old. That’s the desire and the work rate of these players to work hard, they’ve improved immeasurably.”
Next up for United is a home clash against Reading in the league and Stoney is hoping the confidence following the derby win can help continue their winning streak of three games.
“The players sit in that changing room their shoulders are a little higher their chests are out a little bit more and they have little bit more belief and they trust what we’re doing as staff to deliver that game plan,” Stoney said. “I can heap as much praise as I can on them, but it’s about going on from that and building on that because we have a big game against Reading.”