Casey Stoney: ‘We need to be better’

Casey Stoney and her Manchester United side have progressed to the semi-finals of the Continental Cup for the second season running.

United beat Brighton 2-1 at Leigh Sports Village on Wednesday, thanks to goals from Abbie McManus and Jane Ross.

They will face either Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea in the next round. It was Arsenal that they drew at this stage last year, losing 2-1 thanks to a Vivianne Miedema brace.

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There is also the possibility of a fifth Manchester derby of the season.

“It would get a bit boring wouldn’t it?” Stoney said. “At the same time, it’s a derby.

“We’d love to take on Arsenal or Chelsea too. We’ve had a go at all of those teams this season and on our day we’re capable of beating any of them. “

The only one of those three teams that United have beaten this season is Manchester City. The Red Devils beat their cross-town rivals earlier in this season’s Conti Cup.

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United had to see themselves through a very competitive game against Brighton to be able to call themselves semi-finalists. After beating the Seagulls 4-0 in the league, they knew to expect a more competitive affair.

“They threw everything at us and credit to them, they had a real go,” Basildon-born Stoney said.

“We did everything to try and lose the game but we’re in the hat. It’s pleasing that we had to show a bit of fight at the end.

“We need to be better and start picking up silverware.”

Following Manchester United’s shock loss against Bristol City, Stoney promised changes to the lineup.

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She made four changes to the starting lineup with Jess Sigsworth, Ella Toone, Kirsty Smith and Jane Ross all coming in.

“There would have been more changes,” Stoney said.

“Unfortunately, due to fitness and injuries, we had to tweak it again.

READ MORE: Man United sneak into Conti Cup semi-finals

“I made it very clear after the Bristol game that every player’s shirt was up for grabs and that’s the way it should be.”

Those injuries saw Jackie Groenen, Leah Galton and Millie Turner play no part in United’s win over Brighton.

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There were 624 people in attendance at LSV on Wednesday, on the same night that the United men’s team took on Wolves in the FA Cup.

“It’s brilliant. I always say to our fans that I think they’re incredible,” Stoney said.

“They show support when we’re good, when we’re bad and when we’re ugly.

“We were ugly at times tonight. They never stop signing and never stop getting behind the team. We’ve got some of the best fans in the world.”

United have had two of their last three Women’s Super League games postponed due to adverse weather.

“It makes it difficult because you raise your game,” Stoney said. “You start preparing mentally, physically, you put everything into that and then you turn up on Sunday morning and then it’s called off.

“It’s tough for the players, you prepare for one game and then quickly have to prepare for another.

“You drop down the table when you’ve not even played and you’re playing catch up.”

United are down to sixth in the WSL, with two games in hand on Spurs who sit one place — and one point above them.

Coincidentally, it is also Spurs that United face this Sunday. The north-London side will travel to the exotic Leigh to play United at 12pm this Sunday.

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