Marc Skinner gives fitness update on Batlle, Russo, and Garcia after United lose out to Chelsea

Manchester United
WALSALL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Marc Skinner, Manager of Manchester United looks on during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup match between Aston Villa and Manchester United at Poundland Bescot Stadium on October 01, 2022 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Marc Skinner hopes he’ll be able to call on his full squad after the latest fitness updates on Lucia Garcia, Ona Batlle and Alessia Russo following the 3-1 defeat from Manchester United to Chelsea.

The Red Devils were made to pay by a clinical Blues side at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday as three second half goals from Sam Kerr, Lauren James and Erin Cuthbert put them to the sword despite Alessia Russo’s 71st minute strike.

However, with another big game against Arsenal on the horizon, the 38-year-old head coach gave updates on the Spanish duo and explained why he replaced Russo despite his team chasing a goal.

Fitness updates

“Lucia didn’t train with the team yesterday” said Skinner.

“So she pulled out tonight with a tweak and it would have been stupid to risk her. For Ona, she trained yesterday and today but it was just too soon for her. She should be ready for the Arsenal game.”

Manchester United: Russo update

Skinner also updated fans on the fitness of Lionesses striker Russo, with the striker replaced on 78 minutes – much to the disappointment of the record crowd.

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“I thought she was magnificent tonight. It actually pained me to take her off, but the reality is we don’t want that to be niggled through something we can control. She had a hamstring injury and we need to make sure we look after her. I’m hoping over the next few weeks she will be ready to play full 90 minutes – but it pained me as much as it pained everyone seeing her walk off the field. To clear that up, I would not have wanted to take Alessia off in that moment but it is where we’re at”.

For Manchester United, who entered the game unbeaten, Skinner revealed where he thought the game was lost but reiterated that he sees signs of improvement.

“Miles better performance” notes Skinner

“I felt that was a miles better performance from us than last year. Now we’re more competitive but there’s edges that Chelsea have that we have to get for the games coming up. I said to the team at the end, there are controllable moments that we let ourselves down on, but you feel sorry for yourself, it’s not sport for you.”

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“For us, we lost in moments where we could have done better, but we learn from it and then we’ll go away to international break and come back against Arsenal where it’s a great opportunity for us to put a performance in that we can equally as proud of but actually need to think quicker and put those things into practice. Mistakes happen in games, players will make mistakes. What I have to make sure is I coach the thought process to the mistake, because it was not the right time to do that.

“But that isn’t why we lost the game – we lost the game on speed of thought and concentrate. And, those are fixable.

“I don’t want my team to ever fear playing out when it is the appropriate time. But these are the moments when you had to take control in big games. And that’s what we’ll learn from”.

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