Casey Stoney’s Manchester United fought back to draw 2-2 with City | Michael Regan/Getty Images
Manchester United came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Manchester City in a breathless Manchester derby on Saturday.
City dominated the first half and led through Chloe Kelly and Laura Coombs. But United came out fighting in the second and levelled thanks to goals from Tobin Heath and substitute Kirsty Hanson.
Here’s what United manager Casey Stoney and City boss Gareth Taylor had to say about the events at Leigh Sports Village.
City were outstanding in the first half | Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images
“I thought we looked dangerous, played through them in the first half, created numerous chances,” Taylor told BT Sport. “We just needed to stick a few more away. But the effort and attitude and some of the football we played in the first half was top class.
“Performance-wise I’ve been pleased. There’s real elements of our game that have been top. Some of the play was really, really good. We just need to provide that on a bit more of a regular basis and create that consistency a bit more.”
United looked like a different team in the second half | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
“I take full responsibility for the first half,” Stoney told BT Sport. “I think I got the press wrong so I had to change that at half time to make sure we pressed differently because I think they were picking us off.
“I think the players were incredible in the second half. I think I’m more proud of today – because we were 2-0 down and the mentality shift – we might have folded last year. I think we were unfortunate in the end not to win it.”
Substitute Kirsty Hanson scored United’s equaliser | Michael Regan/Getty Images
“Unbelievable. And that’s why we call them [substitutes] game changers,” said Stoney. “It’s not credit to my substitutions, it’s credit to them because they come on and they really apply themselves.
“There’s a mindset now, a mentality shift. We can go toe-to-toe and we can beat teams. 2-0 down against Man City is not an easy feat at half time and they’ve come out and been the far better team.
“That second-half performance was for our fans, to make sure we got that result in the Manchester derby which is really important for them.”
City had been comfortably leading at half time | Michael Regan/Getty Images
“Bit disappointed with the second half,” Taylor added. “I think we were so in control in the first half, absolutely bossed the game. We could have arguably been two goals better than what we were – we’re probably looking at a three or four goal scoreline with the opportunities we created.
“But at half time it was a good situation to be in and looking at implementing our game in the second period which I didn’t think we did enough of.
“It’s disappointing, it feels like three points dropped, especially in the commanding position we were in.”
The draw leaves United top of the WSL | Michael Regan/Getty Images
“It [being top of the table] doesn’t matter,” Stoney added. “It’s November. Even the first half today showed the last game doesn’t matter.
“It’s about performing and being at that consistent level week in week out and we know we can’t concede those sort of goals and play like we did in the first half and that was enough motivation to make sure we keep going to the next level.”