Man Utd boss refuses to be drawn on defender’s Barcelona transfer links

Manchester United beat Liverpool 1-0 on the final day of the Women’s Super League season.

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Marc Skinner’s side secured their best ever league finish thanks to Lucia Garcia’s 72nd minute strike against Liverpool which cemented a second placed finish in the WSL.

Sadly for United, there was to be no miracle at the Madejski Stadium where they needed Reading to secure a win over Chelsea to stand a chance of lifting the league title but Skinner refused to be downbeat.

“It’s hard for me because I want to win it (the WSL). I want to win the league and I want to win cups but I also have to appreciate how far we’ve come in a short time. It’s a pretty unique situation, the inception of a team and its growth over five years.

“Credit to the players, credit to the staff and to our fans for what we’ve built here so far and what we’re continuing to build. It is a credit to all of them because it is something unseen and unheard of. I’m really proud of everyone.

Skinner’s side matched the points haul that saw Chelsea lift the WSL title last season and the United boss admitted it fills him with a sense of pride in his side’s achievements this season - and that they are ready to come back even stronger next year.

“It really does (make him proud). It might go back to - and I’m a big believer in balance so congratulations to Chelsea by the way - I think it balances out but the game against Chelsea where we should have had two clear penalties, it’s because it’s against Chelsea, those head to heads.

“The only team we lost against in the league was Chelsea. We draw against Everton and Manchester City - maybe they are the small margins we need to improve but every other game we’ve won. That’s amazing. If you’d have said that at the start of the year, I’d have hoped that would win the league but unfortunately it hasn’t. We go again next year and we have to be even better.”

His task of toppling the Blues has already hit its first challenge though with news that key defender Ona Batlle is set to return to her homeland and sign for Spanish giants Barcelona this summer upon the expiry of her contract. Reports have indicated the deal is all but signed but Skinner insisted negotiations were still ongoing with the player.

“Time will tell. The business people are still in negotiation. I’ve been very clear, I have seperated that. My job is to focus on the football on the field to which we’ve done very well this year” said Skinner.

“Off the field, the business team are working very hard to make sure that happens but I will be very clear, if that does not happen, then we will go into the market and recruit because we have to. What I am a big believer in is that our team is not about one player. It never will be.

“For us, I hope they (Alessia Russo and Batlle) will stay. If I was them, I don’t think I’d want to leave this team because of what we are achieving and what we are doing, in my opinion. Time will tell and once we all know, you will know. This club will be aggressive in the transfer market.