Man United can win WSL next year – Williams after FA Cup win

Rachel Williams has said Manchester United‘s Women’s FA Cup triumph on Sunday does “mask over the issues” they’ve had in the league and added that she expects them to “change things” next season, suggesting her team could win the Women’s Super League (WSL).

United put aside their struggles in the league that have left them fifth in the WSL and thrashed Tottenham 4-0 in the FA Cup final on Sunday to win the first major trophy in their history.

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Ella Toone gave United the lead on the stroke of half-time with a sumptuous finish from the edge of the box before Williams doubled their lead in the second half with a well-placed header from a Katie Zelem free kick. A brace from Lucía García added further gloss to United’s win.

“We don’t like to admit it but it [winning the FA Cup] does mask over the issues we’ve had,” Williams told the BBC.

“We have had some ups and downs this year. That’s for Marc [Skinner] and the backroom staff to be like: ‘Right, this is what we have to do in the summer.’

“We are going to have [to] change things next year. We have had some injuries, three or four ACLs, at the start of the season.

“That’s football, teams go through transition. You have a good year, you have a dip. Next year we might just come back bigger, better and stronger and, who knows, we might just be lifting the league.”

The final was played in front of a sellout crowd and United boss Skinner pointed to Toone and Mary Earps‘ experience winning the Euro 2022 final with England at Wembley as a key factor in their win.

“It’s a huge factor [the winning experience]. If you’ve not done that before, maybe it happened to Tottenham a little bit today. It’s experience, you calm your thought process,” Skinner said in a news conference after the game.

“So Mary’s calm… decisions can be made clearer when you don’t have emotions blocking up that decision. I’ve spoken about this a lot.

“Tooney [Toone] obviously scored a fantastic goal in the final, she’s been here, done it before. She’s focused. In that moment when it comes, she calms her body down to select the right technique, the right weight, the right power. That’s why it’s important. Because it allows you to think in key moments and games are made of key moments and we had two of the best to make them for us today.”

While this was United’s second successive FA Cup final appearance, it was Tottenham’s first-ever cup final and their first time playing at Wembley. The manner of defeat will sting but Spurs can take encouragement from the fact that they’ve reached the final and secured a top six finish in the league just a year on from narrowly avoiding relegation — a sentiment Robert Vilahamn reflected in his message to his players after the game.

“The main thing I said [to the players] was ‘this is not the end; this is the beginning,’ he said in his news conference after the game.

“This is the beginning; we have learnt so much this year and reached the final. We could have won it as well but on the other hand Man United deserved it, so if they deserve it and we also need to look at it as ‘what a performance they have done.’

“It’s okay to be angry, sad or whatever they want to be because that’s a part of football. You should feel that today because that’s why you want to win next time. It’s okay.

“But on Tuesday, we’re going to go back and make sure we have a good performance against Chelsea, then against West Ham, then we’re going to close this year and realise that we were in the final, we were top 6 in the league and probably feel like we had a quite good year.”