Analysis

Women’s reaction: Call for character

Despite a goalless start to the Women's Super League campaign, Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes is confident her squad will rediscover the form which saw them net 102 times last season.

Although we are yet to concede in our defence of the WSL title, three consecutive 0-0 draws have left Blues players and staff frustrated, particularly as we have created chances in all three matches which could have left us looking at very different picture.

The midweek visit of Sarajevo to Kingsmeadow for the second leg of our Champions League last-32 tie, which kicks off at 7.30pm on Wednesday, provides a welcome return to home surroundings for Hayes and her squad after a four matches on the bounce. Click for tickets

The manager has no doubt a return to our lethal goalscoring form is just around the corner provided they continue to work hard on the training ground.

'We're unbeaten and we haven't conceded a goal in three games, but when a team is in a moment like this it's important we show our character,' she said. 'We have to keep working at it on the training pitch, developing the habit, and something will fall for us. But it's up to us to make that happen.

'We're getting it into the right areas, but there’s a bit of lack confidence in those areas and when it doesn't go in, it starts to plant the seeds of doubt. But this is a team that scored 100 goals last year and we mustn't forget that. We haven't quite got going with our league campaign.'

EVERTON LADIES (A) 18/19 WSL

Of course, a lack of goals in the league isn't the only challenge confronting her side this season; as reigning champions and many pundits' pre-season favourites to retain the title, there is a clear focus on the Blues being the team to beat in the WSL.

'I've said all along I think it will be a challenge for any team to win successive titles,' Hayes said. 'For my team, accepting that is a starting point and then there’s the reality when you're playing against full-time teams that bank up, they make it hard. I can't take anything away from Everton. We did enough to win the game late on, but that's part of our problem at the moment – we're just not taking our chances.

'It's hard being the team to beat, especially when you have a game every three or four days. A lot of the players are internationals, they're playing and travelling a lot, and for some of my group that's been the challenge at the beginning of the season – getting them to the point where they kick on another level.

'It's also important to have context – it's not the end of the world and we will put ourselves in a positive position if we keep working at it.'

- Win tickets to watch England Women at the World Cup

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