Marc Skinner plays down concern over Alessia Russo’s expiring contract

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Marc Skinner insisted he is not unduly worried about Alessia Russo’s contract running down as his main focus is on leading Manchester United to domestic silverware this season.

United sit atop the Women’s Super League and are into the FA Cup semi-finals, but looming in the background is the uncertainty of several players’ futures at the club beyond the end of the campaign.

The deals of both England striker Russo, who attracted a world record bid from Arsenal reported to be around £500,000 in January which United rejected, and Spain full-back Ona Batlle expire this summer.

Manchester United are bidding for silverware on more than one front this season (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Manchester United are bidding for silverware on more than one front this season (Barrington Coombs/PA)

“I wouldn’t say (the contract situations of Russo and Batlle) goes to the level of concern because as a collective we’re in a really important moment of the season which these players will play a massive part in,” said Skinner.

“There’s a lot of love from those players towards the club and obviously from the club towards those players. We’re hopeful and working hard behind the scenes.

“What I’ve stayed very clear on and why they’re still performing like they are is it’s about the team. My job is to put myself aside and work for this team, the players’ job is to put themselves aside and work for the team.

This iteration of United’s women’s side have only been in existence for the last five years and have neither finished in the top three of the league nor reached the final of a domestic cup competition.

Indeed, this Saturday’s clash against Brighton will be their first experience of an FA Cup semi-final.

United, though, will be overwhelming favourites to prevail given they have twice this season claimed 4-0 wins over Brighton, rock-bottom of the WSL, who named Melissa Phillips as head coach last week.

Marc Skinner wants United to be on the
Marc Skinner wants United to be on the “hunt” in their remaining games this season (Steven Paston/PA)

“We would love to get to a final and to win finals going forward but we’ve got a very difficult task ahead of us.

“The mentality from my group and my players has to be that we go and hunt any opponent that stands in the way of us and success.

“That’s the mentality I want us to have from now until the end of the year and I genuinely mean I want us to turn up our heat on every opponent knowing that the one we’ll face this weekend will be very, very difficult to play against. We better be ready for that.”

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