Analysis

Emma Hayes discusses clinical performance and Millie Bright's fitness

Emma Hayes felt a big Chelsea Women's victory had been on the cards for a while before Wednesday night's drubbing of Bristol City.

The Blues produced an attacking masterclass in front of the 1,800 supporters in attendance at Kingsmeadow for our latest WSL fixture, with Fran Kirby and Bethany England scoring a hat-trick apiece as we defeated the Vixens 6-0.

That scoreline represents our biggest league victory of the campaign and with the attacking players she has at her disposal, Hayes was always confident her side could produce such a performance.

'We've been building that sort of momentum for a while and I said there would come a point where one team would get a hiding and we were going to be clinical,' she said. 'It could have been more than six, to be honest with you.

'I'm happy for both the hat-trick scorers. They complemented each other well, caused Bristol problems all evening.

'I thought we were sloppy defensively in the first half. Going 2-0 up so early meant it was comfortable, so I wasn't happy and I told them that at half-time, and that we have standards and it's important we respect that.

'You have to still do the fundamentals well enough – respect the opponent and the game. We did that better in the second half. The subs came into the game and all contributed. I've said it many times, I'm blessed with a wealth of good players.'

Another player who impressed Hayes was Erin Cuthbert, the WSL Player of the Month for January, who played on the right wing and impacted the game early on with assists for our first two goals and a typically energetic performance throughout.

'Erin is growing every week,' said Hayes. 'She works so hard on the training pitch – and if you put it in there, you'll get your just rewards.

'It's the same for Jess Carter and after her cross in the last five minutes I said to her, “That's what all the extra work is about. That one moment, that bit of quality.” It's easy to not do that at 5-0, but to continue to do that is something I drive as a standard.'

Although the momentum of two big wins in a week will be slowed somewhat by the forthcoming international break, which means we'll be waiting until mid-March for our next fixture, there is still plenty for Hayes to be pleased about ahead of a busy end to next month, with vital matches in three competitions.

'We're finding consistency in the performance and we've got players returning, such as Fran, from injury and illness,' she added. 'That really helps. We had an 11-game unbeaten run, which was a great spell for the team, and the only setback in that was against Birmingham, which came in a game played three days after the international break, when I felt the team looked jaded.

'It's been there, but we've lacked consistency or not built on momentum at the right moments. Now, I think things are starting to come off for us.'

Lastly, Hayes shed some light on Millie Bright's fitness. The centre-back missed out last night, just a few days after it was revealed she would not be in the England squad for the SheBelieves Cup, but Hayes has no concerns over her vice-captain.

'I've said all along, part of my job is to help players to the World Cup. This is an opportunity for us to add some things to her programme, for her ankle.

'She could keep playing, it's not affecting her performances, but we want to maintain the quality all the way through so she produces for club and country. She's having a lot more manual therapy and treatment, and sometimes you can't do that when you're pounding on hard grounds.

'The right decision, a collective one between Phil and I, is to preserve Millie throughout the season as a priority. She will be available after the international break; SheBelieves is not the World Cup. They require her for the major tournaments, so not taking unnecessary risks is the right thing to do.'

- The details of our FA Cup sixth round fixture away to Durham Women have been confirmed. Kick-off at New Ferens Park will be at 12 noon on Sunday 17 March. 

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