Katie Zelm discusses facing Man United ‘catch 22’ ahead of Old Trafford return


Manchester United captain Katie Zelm has described the two-week break since the Football League’s World League victory over Arsenal as the team’s ‘grab 22’ because that time off ahead of facing Aston Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday has both positive and negative effects.

After losing to Chelsea in early November, their first league defeat of the season, United responded with a step-up 3-2 return win at Emirates Stadium When club football resumed after the recent international break.

Another two-week pause in the club’s schedule, during which United played a friendly match behind closed doors, provided a chance to rest for the starters and minutes for those less involved so far this season. But there is a risk that the positive momentum will fade.

“It’s a catch-up 22 in football. Everyone’s dying for a break, but equally when you’ve got good momentum, you want to keep it going,” Zlem said of the paradoxical stance.

“We have to look at it as a positive. People managed to get minutes in a friendly we played. Obviously we had a difficult week of training and that meant we were able to prepare properly for the Villa game. Often, when there are three weeks Really busy for the game, it reduces the preparation time.

“As a team, we’re in a really good place this weekend and we all can’t wait.”

united Manager Mark Skinner welcomed the opportunity to rest, insisting it was the team’s responsibility to build up momentum.

“Maybe it was a good moment to recharge, rejuvenate everyone and just make sure we can compete within the team because that’s the real driving factor for us,” Skinner explained.

“I’ve said this before, whether it’s a loss in the break, or a victory in the break, it’s about us taking charge of the momentum.”

In terms of the game itself, United have won on both of the previous occasions they have played at Old Trafford – against West Ham in 2021 and Everton earlier in 2022 – and discovered that the pitch’s dimensions are in fact the same as their usual home pitch. village.

Even if it’s obvious that the setup will be different due to the much larger stands that surround the turf, it feeds into their preferred style of play and makes the transition much smoother.

“We pride ourselves on keeping the ball and building our attacks. For us, at Old Trafford, that will be crucial,” Zelm continued.

“We know Villa are going to try to catch us in the first half and they have a lot of attacking threats. We need to look at it like we’re playing at Leigh… obviously it’s more difficult when there are a lot of people and huge stands around you. It’s Just another game for us and that’s how we take it.”

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