Last weekend Chelsea Ladies were beaten in a seven-goal thriller by table-toppers Liverpool, and while understandably disappointed with the result, assistant manager Paul Green feels there were plenty of reasons to be optimistic looking ahead…
In a dramatic encounter at Liverpool, we conceded two late goals to fall to a 4-3 defeat having led the match at two different stages of the contest.
The Blues raced into a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Sofia Jakobsson and Eniola Aluko, and though the home side scored twice to draw level, we were back in front when Jakobsson's cross was diverted into her own net by Becky Easton.
With three points seemingly in the back, however, we were dealt a severe blow in the closing stages when the hosts scored twice to turn the game on its head, condemning us to a second straight defeat.
'The most disappointing thing was the manner of the goals we conceded, because our performance deserved a victory, never mind a defeat,' Green tells the official Chelsea website. 'They were soft goals from our point of view, which came from basic errors, and we were severely punished.
'We went away from home, scored three goals against the league leaders and that should be enough for a victory, so it was disappointing, but at the same time we know we're not too far away.
'Going forward we looked a threat and there were some good individual performances, but we need to cut out the silly mistakes.
'To score three against Liverpool away speaks for itself; they're the best team in the league at the moment and for long periods we were in charge of the game, we were 2-0 up and 3-2 up, so we have to take positives from that.
'If we get it right at the other end and stop goals going in against us we know we have the firepower to score goals in this league, but as a team we need to defend better.'
DERBY DAY LOOMS
With no fixture this weekend, Emma Hayes's side have plenty of time to prepare for what will, as ever, be a tough test against Arsenal next Thursday at Staines Town FC.
The game, which will be broadcast live and exclusive on BT Sport, pits two exciting, attacking teams against each other, and having been beaten 2-1 at Borehamwood earlier in the season, Green insists we will be doing everything to secure the three points.
'It's a good game for us,' he explains. 'From the players' point of view these are the type of games you want to play in. Arsenal are certainly one of the best teams in the league, but we know on our day we're capable of beating anybody.
'It will be a difficult game, of course, but we're looking forward to it and the players want to challenge themselves against the top teams. It's a London derby as well, so both sets of players will be up for it with local pride at stake.
'The fact it's on TV always adds a bit extra to a game, there's always a bit of a different feel in the build-up to it. We're looking to give a good account of ourselves and hopefully get a good result in front of a big audience.'
EVENING OF FUN AHEAD OF GUNNERS CLASH
Prior to kick-off against Arsenal, Chelsea Ladies are inviting supporters to come along and enjoy an evening of family fun and entertainment.
Supporters aged five-17 years old are invited to take part in a FREE, interactive fanzone, brought by Continental Tyres. Games include batak boards, a speed cage, a target shoot inflatable plus a new trailer that houses digital stations and the FA WSL and Cyprus Cup trophies. Chelsea Ladies and England star Claire Rafferty will be in attendance to meet and greet the youngsters.
The loveable FA WSL mascot Berry the bear and Chelsea FC new mascot Bridget the Lioness will also be in attendance, and to add to the enhanced fan experience, there will be hair braiding and face painting, all of which will take place outside the stadium from 5.30pm. All Under-16s who register at the fanzone will get free entry into the game.
Blues' manager Emma Hayes said: 'We are delighted that this home match is to be shown live on BT Sport and we are hoping to show some top class women's football.
'We are confident that this London derby will attract a good crowd plus with both a free interactive fanzone and lots of entertainment going on, it will hopefully inspire as many people as possible to come to the game.'
Chelsea Ladies v Arsenal Ladies takes place at Staines Town FC on Thursday 29 August, kick-off 7.30pm. Tickets are available on the night priced £5 for adults and £3 for children and concessions.