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Marc Skinner: Manchester United Women boss criticises 'crazy' Champions League qualification rules

Manchester United failed to qualify for the Women's Champions League group stage after losing to Paris Saint-Germain in second round of qualifying; United boss Marc Skinner criticised "crazy" qualification rules and was unhappy with the referee in the second-leg defeat in France

Manchester United manager Marc Skinner applauds the fans after the UEFA Women's Champions League qualifying second round match at the Parc des Princes in Paris, France. Picture date: Wednesday October 18, 2023.
Image: Manchester United Women manager Marc Skinner is unhappy with the Champions League qualification rules

Manchester United boss Marc Skinner called for changes to the qualification rules and criticised the referee after his side failed to reach the Women's Champions League group stage.

The Women's Super League side were beaten 3-1 in the second leg of their second-round qualifier against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes to go out 4-2 on aggregate.

Skinner felt it was a tough draw for United while other clubs may have been given an easier passage.

"It's crazy that we have to play PSG in this qualifying round, crazy," he said.

"It needs to be something that is addressed. Having said that, we will learn from it. We'll come back stronger. We got a taste of it.

"I'm going to make sure we're driven to make sure we are a constant fixture in the Champions League."

United gave themselves hope when Lisa Naalsund cancelled out Lieke Martens' opener to level at 1-1 early in the second half.

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Yet Martens responded quickly with her second of the game and a third from Sandy Baltimore secured PSG's win.

United fought on and Skinner was enraged when Leah Galton controversially had a header ruled out for a foul on goalkeeper Katarzyna Kiedrzynek.

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 18: Hannah Blundell of Manchester United Women disappointed during the UEFA Champions League Women match between Paris Saint Germain v Manchester United at the Parc des Princes on October 18, 2023 in Paris France (Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Image: Manchester United have failed to qualify for the Women's Champions League group stage

Skinner said on MUTV: "We've scored a goal that should stand. It's ridiculous. If that's the level of officiating at this standard, it's not good enough.

"That's a goal and we're in the ascendancy then to get more. We've come into an intimidating situation and we've been the better team.

"That's all credit to our players and shows everybody else in Europe what they're going to get used to over the next few years, because we as a team are absolutely growing and going to where we want to be. We're not going to let anybody stand in our way."

Skinner is confident his team will bounce back.

He said: "We've got to learn from tonight and we've got to be accountable for our mistakes.

"If we do that, we'll grow again and again and then there'll be no team that can touch us. We can go into Europe and dominate."

What's next?

Manchester United return to WSL action on Sunday as they face Everton away at Walton Hall Park; kick-off 1pm.

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