Manchester United Women Casey Stoney is seen before the Liverpool Women v Manchester United Women FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup football match, Tranmere Rovers FC, Prenton Park, Birkenhead, UK - 19 Aug 2018 Photo: Jon Super for The FA

Manchester United boss Stoney hoping players will rise to the occasion at Old Trafford

Manchester United manager Casey Stoney is hoping that the novelty of playing at Old Trafford next weekend will act as motivation for her players rather than a distraction.

The Red Devils will face West Ham United at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’ next Saturday. It will be the first time that the women’s team have ever played at Old Trafford since their reformation as a senior professional team in 2018.

After last night’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, UEFA Women’s Champions League qualification is now out of Manchester United’s own hands. When asked by FAWSL Full-Time in the post-match press conference whether the upcoming fixture against West Ham United at Old Trafford could act as a motivator or distraction, Manchester United boss Stoney said that she expects the players to rise to the big occasion.

“I’d like to think that the pressure is off now to some degree with it not being in our hands (European qualification),” Stoney said. “I am hoping that it will be an occasion that we go and relish.

“Playing at Old Trafford is a special occasion for any player so I am hoping that they go there and enjoy it.

“They’ll enjoy it if they win and that will be our full focus this week now.”

Should Arsenal win their game in hand, which coincidentally is also against West Ham, The Gunners will leapfrog Manchester United on goal difference. Stoney went on to say that her side simply cannot slip up against The Hammers themselves next weekend.

She added “It is a game where we have got to get three points because it is important that we win all five games now to give ourselves a chance and hope that someone slips up.”

Manchester United’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture against West Ham United at Old Trafford will kick-off at 11.30am next weekend and will be available for fans to stream live on the FA Player.

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