Manchester United’s Hanson has eyes on Champions League spot after derby equaliser

Striker Kirsty Hanson has her eyes on a Champions League spot after her late leveler kept Manchester United at the top of the Super League table.

The Red Devils have climbed to the summit after just seven games of their second season in the top flight.

Hanson’s goal from close range in the Manchester derby earned her side a point as they recovered from 2-0 down, and their results so far have sent a message to the rest of the league, according to the Scottish international.

She said: “It was a great comeback, because in the first half we weren’t good enough.

“We didn’t get our shape right, but we have the depth in our squad and we have game changers and the mentality is different this year.

“We’ve taken a point from Chelsea and City and beaten Chelsea and I think that sends a message to the league.

“It shows we are fighting for that top three because we want that Champions League spot.”

United went into Saturday’s derby as the leaders, but fell 2-0 down at the break after goals from City’s Chloe Kelly and Laura Coombs.

US international Tobin Heath smashed United back into the game, before Hanson levelled things up 15 minutes from time.

Boss Casey Stoney insisted United are top of the pile due to sheer hard work, but warned it can soon change and challenged her charges to keep repeating their second half display.

She added: “In the first half we showed that your last game doesn’t matter.

“You have to perform at consistent levels and we know we can’t concede goals like we did.

“Hard work has got us here, there are no shortcuts to success. The players work hard and are diligent in training.”

City remained in fifth position and five points behind United after squandering the lead at Leigh Sports Village.

Manager Gareth Taylor, who saw his side denied the title on a points per game basis last season, believes the increased quality of the league means teams will continue to take points off each other.

He added: “It is still early days and we could have gone within two points of the top if we had won.

“We’ll dust ourselves down but we don’t want teams to get to get too far away.

“I’ve always been confident because of the higher levels now teams will take points off one another.

“We are disappointed and between now and the end of the season we need to make sure we drop minimal points.”

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