Chelsea match not defining in United’s season insists manager Stoney

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Casey Stoney is refusing to label this weekend as a defining moment in the season despite table-toppers Manchester United travelling to defending Barclays FA WSL champions Chelsea.

The two drew 1-1 on the opening day and have both yet to lose since, with United perched narrowly above a Chelsea side who sit three points back but have a game in hand.

A win at Kingsmeadow would therefore provide a huge boost to United’s title ambitions but the boss isn’t getting carried away just yet.

“I’ll be honest, I’m really boring, I don’t actually look back [at our results in previous games],” said Stoney.

“It’s all about the next game, all about the next day’s prep, it’s all about making sure that we can, I’m only looking at Saturday in terms of matchday-1 and then obviously into the game.

“I don’t think we look at a title. We look at Chelsea, we look at their threats, what they can do and our threats and where we can hurt them and how we can essentially win that game.

“Obviously, if we can take something out of that game then it just keeps us in a really good position.

“I don’t think these games define your season if I’m honest but it’s still a game that we want to go and do well in.”

Chelsea v #MUWomen is getting closer and closer! 🔜 pic.twitter.com/GQkRcsjmNQ
— Manchester United Women (@ManUtdWomen) January 16, 2021

Stoney also took the time to praise counterpart Emma Hayes who, since arriving in 2012, has transformed Chelsea from a club where players “couldn’t even get a tracksuit” in the early days.

The Blues now sit as one of the best teams in world football and a source of inspiration for Stoney, who continues to thrive in her early days of club management.

“I have to give Emma Hayes an awful lot of credit,” she said. “She’s been a very successful manager, she’s won a lot of trophies, she’s got an incredible team at her disposal.

“It must be difficult to pick a team with the amount of international players that she’s got and the calibre that she’s got.

“All I can hope is that we go with the belief and the determination that we can go and get something out of the game, which we absolutely do believe and I think that we will give Chelsea a good game.

“Ultimately it’s going to come down to those fine margins and we obviously want to make sure that we give a good account of ourselves.”

Chelsea kept pace with United thanks to a 5-0 win at Reading last weekend, with Fran Kirby netting a perfect hat-trick en route to four goals on the road.

That was only game to take place due to a wave of postponements in the Barclays FA WSL, giving Stoney an important watching brief ahead of this crunch match.

She added: “I watched them against Reading, Fran Kirby got four goals so they’ve got a lot of players that can hurt you but also we know what we’re capable of when we’re good.

“We know that we’re going to have to be at our very best to get something out of the game.”

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