Interview

Magdalena Eriksson on becoming captain and the season ahead

Chelsea Women skipper Magdalena Eriksson says her team must keep the momentum going after winning our first game of the season and has also admitted that being asked to take the armband was not expected.

The Blues’ start to the Women’s Super League took place on Sunday 8 September and two days prior to the season opener Emma Hayes announced Eriksson as her new captain.

The Swedish defender led the team out for the first time this season in front of a huge crowd at Stamford Bridge and she shared her thoughts from the big occasion.

‘It was amazing, the whole day was unreal, the support we had at Stamford Bridge, the game we performed really well, we got a win and to lead the team out, it couldn’t have gone any better than that.

‘In those moments, I’m just really focused on the job, I felt like I was so focused on the game to win and just play well that it was hard to take everything in but I think looking back on it now it’s like wow, it was amazing and the atmosphere was amazing.’

Read: Report - Chelsea Women 1 Tottenham Hotspur Women 0

Chelsea narrowly missed out on any form of silverware last term, however the 26-year-old who has been at the club since 2017 believes if the squad continues to build on the momentum, they will have a successful campaign

‘To start the game with a strike like that, the goal was amazing,’ she said. ‘Ideally we would have finished off the game earlier but we played really well and we created a lot, the clinical part will come as the season progresses.

‘It was so important for us to start in a good, positive way and it was also interesting to see that all of the results in the league were actually really tight – I think that is a good sign for the league.
 

‘I think we have internal pressure to succeed, we know we want to win trophies and we talk about it a lot. We have that winning culture, that winning mentality that we expect ourselves to win every game that we play.

‘I don’t think the external pressure is there, I feel like a lot of the media is still talking about perhaps Arsenal to defend the title which could be a good thing for us to be in the background.

‘Internally we always expect to win and have high demands on ourselves and those are the things that will drive us forward the whole season.’

Chelsea’s next game is away to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, and although we have beaten Hope Powell’s side on four occasions, Eriksson will not be taking the south coast side for granted. She stresses the importance of finishing our chances in front of goal.

‘Things like being clinical will come the deeper we get into the season, those will become second nature, but it’s so important now to get the momentum and to keep winning.

‘In my first season here, I felt like we just started off winning and then we kept on winning and winning, and I feel like that’s the momentum we need to get into. If we want to win the league we need to get into winning ways early.

‘It’s going to be a tough game, it’s an away game, it’s Brighton. We know that they are good at defending and they are hard to beat and play against so I think we need to give them respect,’ she added.

Eriksson, who played a significant part in Sweden’s World Cup bronze medal success this summer having started six out of seven matches, feels she has learnt a lot about herself from her time in France and that she will take the experience into being the best captain she possibly can be for her club.

‘The captaincy as a whole has never been something that I have strived to get or receive because for that’s not the way to do it.

‘I feel like you are the way you are and if you are awarded the captaincy then that’s a good sign of you being a good person, but I don’t think it should be an aim because then it’s not natural.

‘For me I’ve always just tried to be the best version of myself and to give everything in every training and speak my mind if I feel like I have something to say.

‘I feel like those are the qualities in the end that Emma [Hayes] went for when she picked a captain which is really cool for me. I was surprised to be honest, happily surprised and really honoured that she gave it to me.

‘The 2019 Women’s World Cup has absolutely helped me personally to trust myself and believe in myself more. I feel like that’s the highest level of football you can play in the women’s game and to know that I can do that, still be a leader and be faced against the best in the world, I feel like that has given me loads of confidence that I have brought into Chelsea.'

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