Matt Bee looking forward to locking horns with ex-Lioness Casey Stoney as Burnley FC Women take on WSL giants Manchester United in FA Cup

Matt Bee has already had an insight into the psyche and tactical thinking of Manchester United Women's boss Casey Stoney.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 7:30 am
Burnley FC Women's boss Matt Bee instructs his players during a training session at The Barnfield Training Centre.
Burnley FC Women's boss Matt Bee instructs his players during a training session at The Barnfield Training Centre.

Whether that will prove advantageous or not remains to be seen, but the manager of Burnley FC Women will take any form of leverage he can get heading into Sunday's FA Cup tie.

The ex-England international, who clocked up more than 100 caps for the Lionesses, had been drafted in as the key speaker for a module of Bee's UEFA A Licence studies.

The 38-year-old, who succeeded Faye White in captaining her country, opened up about her philosophical approach to both playing and coaching while sharing thoughts on the principles that have helped her along the way.

Burnley FC Women preparing for Sunday's Vitality Women's FA Cup fourth round tie against WSL side Manchester United Women.

And Bee was fascinated by the knowledge imparted. Just days before sharing a touchline with the UEFA Women's Euro 2009 finalist, and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup quarter-finalist, he said: "It is what you dream of.

"In the same way young players dream of playing against the best, as a young coach you want to be competing against the best. This is one of those opportunities and I'm really excited for it.

"I was saying to the players actually, as part of my A Licence, Casey Stoney did a webinar and she was speaking about her philosophy and different bits on it.

"It was fascinating to listen to and the way she sets her team up is phenomenal, the way they play, the principles are fantastic."

Manchester United Head Coach, Casey Stoney talks to her players ahead of the FA Women's Continental League Cup match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Leigh Sports Village on November 19, 2020 in Leigh, England.

He added: "It's unbelievable and I can't wait for the challenge of going up against her. She might not have been managing as long but she's been involved with the England set-up before that and she had an unbelievable playing career before that.

"She's one of those who I think has slotted straight into management because of the way she speaks, the detail that she goes into and then you see her on the touchline. Her playing career has prepared her for management and she's slotted into it seamlessly.

"She's still young in terms of her time in management but she's already got a league title to her name at an elite level.

"It's an unbelievable opportunity to test myself against her and her team. You want to compete against the best to learn. It's exciting to go up against the best."

This will be the first time that the Clarets have taken on Women's Super League opposition and Bee has been burning the midnight oil as a result.

The Burnley boss, who hails from Lincolnshire, is meticulous in everything he does. Bee has been examining footage of this weekend's fourth round opponents with a fine tooth comb, meticulously analysing passages of play, frame by frame.

His ambition, coupled with a regular intake of caffeine, have provided the stimulus to keep him going until the crack of dawn.

"I've been trying to watch quite a bit of them, having a few coffee's to make sure I am on it," he said.

"It is about finding the right footage. I watched their game back against Arsenal and clearly the way they approach the game against us will be different.

"That's no disrespect to us, that's the reality. I've tried to watch a cross-range of their games, bits I took from the Brighton game and the problems they posed and the way they approached it."

He continued: "It is about watching as much footage as possible. When we are setting up for league games I wish we could get more because we are working off three minute YouTube highlights or what teams put on so this is, compared to normal, amazing.

"It is about analysing it in the right way. You can throw too much as players in a short space of time.

"It is about focusing on the real key areas where we can ask a few questions of them and what are the key areas so we don't give them a yard in. That has helped structure the training of how to solve the key problems."

Tobin Heath, Ivana Fuso and Leah Galton are still out with long-term injuries for the visitors, while Alessia Russo isn’t expected to feature for United at The County Ground in Leyland either.

However, the Red Devils still have a plethora of talent to call upon. "I hope they bring everyone, I hope they bring all the big guns! We've worked so hard to get here so we want to see them play everyone," said Bee.

"This is why we do what we do - the players want to compete against the best. This is where we want to be; when you're in football you want to get to the best level possible.

"It's an exciting challenge to see whether we can, as a collective, and, in certain moments, as individuals within the team, go toe-to-toe and nullify some of the best players in the world."