'That's what I'm trying to build': Man Utd boss on key quality his team showed in battling PSG draw

Marc Skinner with Leah Galton following the 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the UWCL. Cr. Getty ImagesMarc Skinner with Leah Galton following the 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the UWCL. Cr. Getty Images
Marc Skinner with Leah Galton following the 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the UWCL. Cr. Getty Images | Getty Images
Manchester United boss revealed which key quality he believes his side have developed following their 1-1 first leg draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Women's Champions League.

Manchester United boss Marc Skinner hailed the resilience of his players after a gritty second half performance rescued a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their UEFA Women's Champions League qualifier at Leigh Sports Village on Tuesday.

Summer signing Melvine Malard scored for the second game in a row in the 68th minute to ensure Manchester United head to the French capital still with everything to play for next week - and Skinner believes his side can go to Paris full of confidence.

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"When I saw them (his team) in the second half, I felt there were senior people, senior women, senior players leading what they were seeing" said the 40-year-old head coach.

"The game is too quick for us to have one plan. The positions interchange too quickly, the way the game is getting so quick so if there midfield is out - if Grace Geyoro pulls out to one side, can we switch to the other side? All these different factors that our players are now fixing on their own.

"A little special mention to Tooney tonight. I thought it was a level where she turned up and went 'I can play at this level'.

"What I love is that there's a lovely blend of Geyse's flair and flamboyancy. Mal's (Melvine Malard) understanding when to come in, Hini's (HInata Miyazawa) calmness. Tooney's (Ella Toone) energy and Katie Zelem's calmness - that adds up to these qualities moments. That is what I am trying to build. I am trying to build a set of players that have tools to unlock any situation.

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"What they are doing more importantly, and it comes with experience, age and belief, it's that they are starting to find solutions themselves on field when they can't hear the coach. You win games on decisions, you win games on players taking the ball and making a decision - and I feel that our players are getting way better and doing that and we are learning on the job" added the United head coach.

United were on the ropes for the majority of the first half and found themselves a goal down early in the second after Tabitha Cawinga managed to squeeze her shot beyond Mary Earps to put the away side in front and while Skinner admitted it took time for his side to adapt to the game, the second half performance was proof his side can compete at the highest level.

"From the start of their season against Lyon, for example who play a 433, they played a 352. So, we were adapting and evolving being ready to do both systems, or defend against both systems. We have to pay respect, we are new to this situation so we have to pay respect.

"In the second half once we had worked out how they were going to play and exactly what they were going to do - then we unleashed the players that needed to do the business that they did. It's literally the cliche that it was a game of two halves.

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"The first half, that was the fastest we've played against, the highest intensity, even Arsenal the other day - it was much more intense than that. It just took our players to see it, feel it and then at half time they fixed it. I'm so proud of the resilience in the first half. They stayed in the game, there was some fantastic individual defending. In the second half I felt we had them on the ropes.

"There's no point in jumping on the plane if we don't believe we can win" added Skinner.

Manchester United will head to the French capital on October 18 to face Paris Saint-Germain, with the game scheduled to kick off at 9pm UK time.

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