Emma Hayes says her Chelsea Women side showed Manchester City ‘what champions look like’ in the second half of our 2-2 draw at the Academy Stadium.
While retaining the WSL title will take an unlikely set of circumstances now, with five games remaining and City holding a six-point advantage over us, our togetherness was there for all to see as we fought back from a two-goal deficit to earn a point.
Ji So-Yun was the star of the show, netting twice in the second half, and had it not been for the two mistakes which led to the home side leading 2-0 after 24 minutes, we may well have secured the win which would have kept us in the title picture.
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‘I'm gutted,’ said Hayes after the game. ‘We started so well in the first 15 minutes, but we made a mistake – just like in midweek [when we lost to City in the Continental Tyres League Cup] – and emotionally it was a carbon copy. It affected the team.
‘We lacked confidence, we didn't want to get on the ball, we weren't aggressive. I said to them at half-time, “It's not difficult – be aggressive, do what you are good at, and you have to show them what champions look like.” I think we did that in the second half.
‘Look at the game overall. We had a great chance through Beth England inside the six-yard box, but we didn't go 1-0 up. That's the story of our season.
‘But I can't remember the last time we've had to dig ourselves from 2-0 down, and that's gutsy. I think you saw the quality in the second half. If we perform like that, we're difficult to beat, but we've got to eliminate the first part, which perhaps centred around nerves because it was a big game. Either way, if you make mistakes at this level, they'll get punished.
‘I thought it was a game of mistakes and missed opportunities for both teams. Therefore a 2-2 scoreline is reflective. Nick [Cushing] will be as disappointed as I am, for exactly the same reasons as I am.’
Attention now turns to the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup, when the Blues host Arsenal at Kingsmeadow next Sunday. That’s the first of two home games in the space of a week, as Bristol City visit us on Wednesday 20 February.
Tickets for both games can be purchased by clicking here