HAYES HAPPY WITH SYDNEY WIN
The Chelsea Ladies manager and one of the three goalscorers gave their views after Wednesday's win over Sydney FC in Japan.
Up against it early on, we rallied before Laura Coombs opened the scoring for Emma Hayes's side, with Eniola Aluko and Yuki Ogimi adding second-half strikes. Sydney rallied late on but the Chelsea girls hung on for a brilliant 3-2 win.
'I'm happy with the way the team performed. To come all this way to Japan and play against the Australian champions is difficult in itself, but to do that in our off season and win the game shows what wonderful character and spirit we are building at Chelsea.
'It took us a while to get going. We looked like a team out of season and Sydney started the game brightly, were sharp, quick to the ball and created a lot of chances. I told the team I wanted them to make it difficult in the first 15 minutes. We got to half-time with a little bit of luck, reorganised and felt we would create chances in the second half. The difference between the two teams was that we were more clinical in the final third. Sydney had a great game and were unlucky to be on the losing team, but good players get you good results and I thought our forwards did what was important at the right times.
'It was an honour to give Yuki Ogimi the captaincy. I asked her to take a lot of responsibility, especially with our younger players, to help guide them in a tournament for the first time in their careers, and I asked that she played a pivotal role in holding the ball up and giving us time to support her. I thought she gave a tremendous performance for us.
'There's a possibility she could be our full-time captain. We will work in the pre-season period with all our players and in time determine who the captain is, but she is certainly a candidate for that.
'In our next game we play one of the best teams in the world, and a team I have followed closely over the last couple of years, as a fan. I expect two teams with similar style, INAC too are in the middle of their season and I expect them to dominate possession. We have to respect that we are still in pre-season, put in a solid performance and hopefully come away with something.
'We're in the middle of trying to bring players into our team for next season. We felt this was a good opportunity to experiment and bring some players on trial, but we select a game dependent on what our needs are. At the moment I don't know what we will do for INAC but every player is in consideration.'
'It was an interesting game and good to come away with the win. I think the first half took us a while to get going and they had a lot of chances but we settled into the game and got a good goal through Laura Coombs. I thought we dominated the second half and to get on the scoresheet is always nice, especially in pre-season to be confident going into the season.
'We've had a break from games and nobody is expected to be at full fitness now, but this is why we play these games, to see where we need to get to. We will now look to build from here.
'We're delighted to be in the final and excited to play INAC. We expect them to play a possession style, different from Sydney who were very direct, so it will be a different game but we have to be confident that we can go into it, compete and win.
'Yuki Ogimi represents the pinnacle of women's football. She has won the World Cup, played in Germany, top-scored in that league and everyone respects her. She's a fantastic human being, very caring, professional, always the first out in training, the first to be stretching and she's amazing at everything.
'Yesterday we were stood by a piano joking that someone should play it, and Yuki went and played it, played an amazing song, and everyone was gobsmacked! It's a privilege to play with her, she's lifted the quality of the group and I feel really honoured to play with her and hopefully we'll be really successful together as a team.'