Casey Stoney plays down claims Manchester United have the edge on Man City ahead of second derby
Tobin Heath celebrates as Manchester United stage their comeback against City
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Casey Stoney, the Manchester United manager, has played down any suggestion her side have the upper hand over Manchester City as both sides prepare to face off for a second time in six days when they meet in the Continental Cup on Thursday.
United staged a dramatic two-goal comeback to thwart City last weekend in an action-packed derby to maintain their lead at the top of the Women’s Super League.
A thunderous strike from US international Tobin Heath got United back in the contest before Kirsty Hanson stabbed home an equaliser to set up a tense finish which included a goal-line clearance by City’s Demi Stokes.
Despite praising the way her side exposed a “fragility” in City, Stoney believes both teams are on an equal footing heading into what she predicts will be another fiery encounter.
“I don’t think there’s any edge,” said Stoney. “They will feel like they dropped two points and I’m sure they’ll come here with a point to prove. City had the upper hand in the first half and we came back in the second."
She added: “I don’t think the game will be that much different [to last Saturday]. Man City have a philosophy and they stick to it. We have a philosophy and we stick to that. I expect it to be heated, because of the previous game being so close. I expect it to be competitive and as a fan of the women’s game, I hope it’s a good football match.”
While unbeaten in the league this season, United are yet to register their first points in the Continental Cup, having lost 3-1 to Liverpool before their second fixture against Everton on November 5 was called off at short notice due to safety concerns at Everton’s Walton Hall Park ground.
The club have since voiced a complaint to the FA about the decision, which was a source of immense frustration for Stoney.
“We’ve actually put a letter to the FA from our perspective as a club because we felt that rules were breached in terms of [it being] less than 24 hours notice,” said the 38 year-old.
“There should be consequences to that. We felt it was a problem that could be fixed, it wasn’t, and therefore we’ve gone to the FA with our view on it, and we’re waiting to hear back from them.”
Meanwhile, Everton manager Willie Kirk said last week that the club had suggested two possible midweek dates in December to the FA in which to play the rearranged fixture. Telegraph Sport has approached the FA for clarifcation.