Talking Points | Rehanne Skinner on Manchester United, building consistency and the importance of playing at home

Rehanne Skinner said her side has more belief after claiming a first ever WSL win over Arsenal in their most recent home outing, and hopes to take plenty of positives into Sunday's Barclays Women's Super League fixture against Manchester United back at Chigwell Construction Stadium.

The Hammers return to action for the first time after the international break this weekend, and will be looking for a strong performance after falling to a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Everton at Walton Hall Park last time out.

Despite that defeat, Skinner is full of confidence and believes her players are ready to bounce back with a strong showing that will reward them with the points.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game against the Red Devils, Skinner reflected on recent results, the importance of playing at home, striving to build consistency and more.

You can listen to the full pre-match press conference by clicking play on the audio player above, or read on for the key talking points…


Reflections on Everton defeat

It's football isn’t it - ups and downs and peaks and troughs - but we want to make sure we are better this weekend. We were a bit disappointed with the [Everton] result for obvious reasons, but ultimately there were still some things that went well within the game when we have reflected on it.

Players have been away on international duty and done very well, so the mood is good and has been throughout the international break. We’re back at home, so it’s a game, another opportunity to try and get some points. We will give everything we’ve got to try and get some points out of the game.

Every game is a new opportunity to get points and you need to move on quickly. There’s been quite a bit of time between the Arsenal game and this one, so it’s all about focusing on the next game and getting back to doing the basics we know we can do well.

Rehanne Skinner

Importance of harnessing home advantage

The distance to the north west is always quite challenging and a difficult set up. To do nearly enough five-and-a-half hours to get to the top end [isn’t easy], and that is one of the factors in you being at home, than being away, as it obviously helps when you are at home.

Every club wants to try and create an atmosphere and the fans are superb at that for us. We had near enough a sell-out crowd against Arsenal, and we are expecting that this weekend as well. It makes a massive difference as the players want to do really, really well for those fans and it helps us get that right mindset a little bit more when you’re at home and makes it a tough place for people to come.



Expecting difficult Manchester United test

For them [Manchester United] they are putting everything into it to try and get results, sometimes it goes in your favour and sometimes it doesn’t. Ultimately, they want to be the highest they can be within the division, as we all do, so I have no doubt that it will be their remit to try and get points out of the game to put them back on track of getting into the Champions League.

We’re playing all of those teams who are trying to fight for that same position, but all we can really focus on is what we want to get out of the game and that for us is to get everyone back together on the grass this weekend and put on a very good performance.

If you get caught up in thinking they are on a downward spiral, that will come back to bite you at some point, so you’ve got to respect them and what they’re capable of. If they get it together on the day then they’re going to cause us a lot of problems.

West Ham United women's team

Strong belief in the team

I think belief is one of the core factors of being successful, so if we can make sure that we believe in ourselves and the things we are doing in every game, anyone can take points off anyone in the WSL.

For us personally the Arsenal win was a massive boost, and the way we went about that game was also a massive boost of confidence because we dealt with a lot of different things within the game itself. We still kept the same mentality, the same approach, same mindset, were very calm and composed and it was a massive credit to the players to absorb quite a lot of pressure at times. It’s something we can use as a platform as we know we are capable of doing that.

For us, it’s about being consistent. That’s one of the things that has not quite been there this season that we are still striving towards, so we will want to try and reproduce as much of that as we can to try and get something out of this game this weekend.


Team news

Everybody has come back well so we are in a good position this weekend. We are obviously still without Abbey-Leigh Stringer.

The ones who have come back this time around all feel pretty good right now, but it still takes a couple of days and it will be the middle of next week before they are feeling back to normal. We obviously work with the players to try and put in jet-lag strategies before and after camps to try and help them build in and then build back out of those scenarios.

Other than that, everyone’s in a great place.