CHELSEA LADIES: BASSETT SETTLING IN
New Chelsea Ladies signing Laura Bassett made her debut in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Sydney FC in Japan, and believes the squad is reaping the benefits of the trip.
An experienced England international, Bassett arrived last month from Birmingham City alongside midfielder Rachel Williams, and impressed during the victory over Sydney in Okayama, which saw the Blues come under heavy pressure for long spells before racing into a 3-0 lead, only to almost let it slip against a determined and physical opposition.
'It was certainly an eventful game with a lot happening. I think the first half was a bit of a shock to everyone as the majority haven't been playing regularly and we were also getting to know each other,' Bassett said afterwards.
'In that sense we were probably lucky to go in at half-time ahead as they put us under a lot of pressure but credit to the girls they showed great character which is what is needed to succeed.
'It felt like we would then go on and get four or five and that's not being arrogant we were just in control, but it goes to show what can happen if you give away silly free kicks.
'There are so many positives to come out of this for us. To get 90 minutes under our belts, get to know the girls and win bodes well for the new season.'
Bassett, 30, is one of the senior figures in a young squad manager Emma Hayes and her staff are assembling for the 2014 Women's Super League season, which she believes can be an exciting campaign.
'I think people here look at me as an experienced player and look up to me so I'm keen to give advice and help the others on the way if they need it,' she said.
'Being here is fantastic as it means we can get to know each other on and off the pitch and when we meet up in January for pre-season it means we will be ahead of the game.
'It's very clear that the squad here isn't finished and that will bring a new dynamic to the group but it was amazing to play with the girls who have been here a while and see what it meant to them to win against Sydney. They struggled last season and the win means a lot to the players and staff as this can be a turning point for the future which is brilliant.'
Sunday's final sees Chelsea meet Japanese natives INAC Kobe Lionessa, in a contest Hayes admits her sides will be underdogs for. Bassett believes it will be the perfect test for a developing group.
'INAC play total football and are the total opposite to Sydney in the way they play and it will be really good for us as a group if we can combat that,' she said.
'They've got a few Japanese internationals and having played them with England it is all about passing and moving and we might have to cope with periods of sustained pressure without the ball which will be good for us mentally.
'It will be a tough test but one we will be ready for. INAC are a good side and it will be a great experience, as back in WSL teams do play the same way so it will be good to see how we cope against that.'