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Marc Skinner: Coaches should not be the ones to decide if a pitch is playable

Marc Skinner believes it “shouldn’t be down to coaches” to decide when a pitch is playable (Tim Goode/PA)
Marc Skinner believes it “shouldn’t be down to coaches” to decide when a pitch is playable (Tim Goode/PA)

Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner believes it “shouldn’t be down to coaches” to decide when a pitch is playable following controversy at Kingsmeadow over the weekend.

Chelsea hosted Liverpool in the Women’s Super League on Sunday, but the game was abandoned after just six minutes played due to a frozen pitch, despite the surface being originally deemed playable by referee Neil Hair.

United were able to go ahead with their fixture, beating Reading 1-0 to go top of the table on goal difference, but Skinner is hopeful lessons have been learned from the fiasco at Kingsmeadow.

“I know Matt (Beard) and I know Emma (Hayes), they’ve both won this league so they’re both experienced enough to understand what the situation was,” Skinner told a press conference.

“I don’t know what they were told so I’m not going to insinuate anything.

“I felt they dealt with it as best they could at that moment and I’m sure from that the review will be that somebody in this position will take control of that situation.

“It shouldn’t be down to the coaches, and I would not blame them for putting players on the field because I’m sure there’s potential fines if you don’t field a team and so on.

“I’m pretty sure from this point on it’ll be reviewed and we won’t get into this position again.”

United’s attention now turns to FA Cup action, where they travel to the north east to face Championship side Sunderland.

Skinner’s side go into the clash unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions, and he insists their focus is firmly on winning.

“We want to win, if it’s a cup competition or a league competition, we want to try and win,” Skinner said.

“The way to try and balance it is to focus on each game and, for example, treat Sunderland exactly how we would’ve treated Reading last week, as we’d have treated Liverpool the week before.

“For us, it’s literally just game, business and treat every opponent like they’re the best you’re going to ever play – that’s their strengths, their weaknesses, how we unpick that and how we pick a team around that.

“I think that is the most respect we can give to anybody and what it does is it stops our team from being complacent.

“There’s no league action now, this is the cup, and we have to give everything because we know what’s at stake.”

Sunday’s clash is the first competitive meeting between United and Sunderland, with the Black Cats plying their trade in the second tier of the football pyramid.

Mel Reay’s side are currently eighth in the Championship having recently picked up wins against Durham and Birmingham, but Skinner is well aware of the challenges his team will face.

He added: “I’m looking forward to it, I always find going to the northern teams, I don’t know whether it’s the people, but the grit and determination that the teams show is always admirable whenever I’ve played against teams from the north.

“I expect them to be extremely organised, committed, focused and we’re going to have to earn our right to beat that.

“We know we have the quality, we should expect the quality, but we have to earn the right because they’re going to give us nothing and we’ve got to try and earn everything.”