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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Beth Lindop

Everton can draw from disappointing Manchester United defeat in Conti Cup clash

Everton boss Brian Sorensen is hoping his side can continue their impressive form in the Continental League Cup when they take on Manchester United on Wednesday night.

The Blues opened their Conti Cup campaign by earning a crucial bonus point with a penalty shootout win over Aston Villa before comfortably dispatching Sheffield United on matchday two. And now Everton will travel to Leigh Sports Village where a win would end United's dreams of advancing to January's quarter-finals.

The two sides last met in October in the Women's Super League, when goals from Nikita Parris, Leah Galton and Hayley Ladd helped the Red Devils cruise to victory at Walton Hall Park. Since then, United have won two of their last three league games, including a thumping 5-0 victory over Aston Villa at the weekend. However, the Everton manager believes his players can learn from October's WSL defeat and go toe-to-toe with Marc Skinner's side on Wednesday.

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"It’s a really good team," Sorensen said of United ahead of the game. "We saw that at the weekend. They’ve been doing great. I think it’s one of the games this season when we weren’t happy with the performance and we’re looking to see if we can do better (on Wednesday) for sure. "

He added: "I think our energy was off for that game. I think we were not sharp enough and we made some big mistakes for two of the goals so that’s something we have to look inside and see how we can improve on that.

"We also have to take into consideration we have a lot of games coming up here now so we’ll look to change the squad a bit so we’re saving some legs but no matter who we put on the pitch it will be a competitive team."

Wednesday's clash marks the first of four games within the space of 11 days for the Blues, with league outings away to Brighton and Tottenham and a final Conti Cup group stage game against Durham to come next week. The Everton boss will have to use his squad wisely as the fixtures pile up ahead of the winter break, with the likes of Katrine Veje, Clare Wheeler and Megan Finnigan already sidelined through injury.

However, last weekend did see the long-awaited return of Danish forward Nicoline Sorensen, who has been out for more than 14 months after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in September 2021. Sorensen was forced to undergo two surgeries and months of rehab before she was deemed fit enough to make her comeback in in the 75th minute against Arsenal on Saturday.

Reflecting on her return, the manager said: "Nico is a top player and I think she showed that against Arsenal in the last 15/20 minutes. She came in with good energy and clever runs and made two really good crosses that we could have taken advantage of so we’re delighted to have her back but we’re still going to take it slow with her and ease her in."

On the lessons his side can take from the weekend's narrow defeat at Prenton Park, Sorensen said: "Arsenal is a top side and we had our chance to get something out of that game.

"There are some things when we looked at it back we were not so happy with and other things we were happy with so we just need to see if we can get everything to click because we need to do that if we want to get a result against a really good United team."

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