“Enjoy these moments, relish them and give your all. Play with your personality, play with the Rebel Reds mentality that we have, and then let our football do the talking.”
That is the message from Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner for his players as they head into their first Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final on Sunday.
The Reds currently sit top of the Barclays Women’s Super League table by one point, although second-place Chelsea have a game in hand, and the Reds head into the final weeks of the season knowing they could land a league and cup double or end the campaign empty-handed.
Standing in their way on Sunday are Chelsea, who themselves will be hoping to make it a third consecutive WSL and FA Cup double.
The game at Wembley Stadium connected by EE is set to be a momentous occasion for Manchester United, whose women’s side were only formed in 2018 and are looking to win their first major trophy.
But speaking in his programme notes, Skinner said: “I have one simple message for my players going into this game: no regrets. We’re going into this game knowing that we have to earn the right to lift the FA Cup rather than thinking we deserve to win it, but these are the occasions you have to look forward to.
“Yes, there will be a few nerves on both sides, but they need to be put aside quickly so that the occasion can be enjoyed.
“There are so many walks of life that are so much duller than what we do, so my urge to each player is to enjoy each moment and make sure we head back to Manchester with no regrets.
“This Final will come and go, so enjoy these moments, relish them and give your all. Play with your personality, play with the Rebel Reds mentality that we have and then let our football do the talking.”
"So embarrassing!" 😂@MayaLeTissier and @alessiarusso7 tell us what happened when @TobinHeath came to visit @ManUtdWomen... 😬— Vitality Women's FA Cup (@VitalityWFACup) May 12, 2023
Watch jenga questions now: https://t.co/BAZ46nbmlz 📺#WomensFACup pic.twitter.com/fywZH8vIb0
The match on Sunday has sold out, meaning that as long as the majority of fans attend, it will break the previous Women’s FA Cup attendance record of 49,094, which was set last year when Chelsea beat Manchester City.
With tens of thousands of United fans expected to attend the 90,000-capacity stadium, Skinner is relishing the prospect of repaying their supporters.
Skinner said: “It helps, of course, that we will have our incredible supporters helping us every step of the way.
“Even though we’re in London, I think the United supporters will offer absolutely massive backing and we’ve seen enough times in the past that special things can happen when these players and fans merge their energy together.”
He continued: “There’s genuine synergy between these players and these supporters. Everybody in our team and our staff wants to do well for our fans because we know how important they are for what we’re trying to do.
“Everything we do is literally for them. Coming from a working-class background like I do, I appreciate the fact that they spend their hard-earned money to come and support us, and we try to put that into our performances.
“I know, deep down, that we’re going to produce trophies for them. That’s our ethos as a club and I hope we can give them that this year, just to present them with a symbol of how much we appreciate them.
“We will absolutely give everything for them [in this match] and beyond.”
You can see the full programme notes in Sunday’s matchday programme, which can be purchased outside the stadium or online here.