Ladies reaction and fixture news
news Mon 6 Nov 2017
Emma Hayes felt the Continental Tyres Cup win over Bristol City was good preparation for Chelsea Ladies ahead of her side’s Champions League game against Rosengard at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday.
The Blues host the Swedish side in the first leg of our last-16 tie, a game which kicks off at 7.05pm in Kingston-upon-Thames, and we head into the fixture after maintaining our 100 per cent start to the domestic campaign.
However, while the majority of those matches have been won comfortably, it was a different story altogether against a stubborn Bristol City side.
Eniola Aluko’s goal at the start of the second half looked to have been enough to secure the victory, but there was late drama as Millie Turner equalised and then Karen Carney both won and converted a penalty in stoppage time to give us a 2-1 win.
‘It's important to remember you're not going to win football matches the same way every time, so the main thing is to ensure you win,’ said the manager.
‘We've been playing well this season, but the sign of a great team is when it's not at its best and it still finds a way to win. We were not at our best, at all, and there were some poor performances, but we showed character after we conceded the equaliser.
‘A lot of players were below their high level, but we didn't crumble. We drove on. This is one of the better wins we've had in recent weeks, because if you're going to win things you have to win in different ways. We showed a different side.
‘But I don't want to take anything away from Bristol because they played really well – they were resilient, they made it difficult for us, and they stayed in the game at 1-0. If you do that then you’ll always have a chance.’
While Hayes was critical of some aspects of her side’s performance, she was full of praise for the two pivotal moments in front of goal which were provided by Aluko and Carney, both of whom netted for the third time in the space of a week.
‘Eni's first touch for her goal was brilliant and it was a good finish,’ she said. ‘We missed a couple early on, but that was a positive for the evening.
‘I thought it was a wonderful performance by Karen. She was the player who drove the team on with high standards, she's improving with every game and I thought she got her just reward for what I felt was a Player of the Match performance.’
Attention has now switched to Wednesday’s Champions League assignment against Rosengard, with the Blues knowing victory in the two-legged tie will keep us in Europe beyond Christmas for the first time.
However, while Hayes warned an improvement would be needed from her players on their most recent performance, the supporters at Kingsmeadow can play a big role in helping us step it up a level.
‘On Wednesday we're going to have to improve on our performance against Bristol and make sure we go back to good defensive ways in terms of dominating the first and second phases,’ she said.
‘We're also going to need to produce more quality going forward, particularly in and around the final third, because we're playing the third top-ranked side in Europe.
‘I'm sure once we get in front of our own fans we've got all the ability to produce a fantastic European performance again.’
Chelsea Ladies WSL1 fixture at home to Manchester City Women has been selected for live TV coverage and will now be played on Sunday 10 December.
Kick-off at Kingsmeadow will be 6.30pm and it will be screened on BT Sport.
The game was originally scheduled for Saturday 9 December.