Sophie Ingle played down the importance of Sunday’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League scoreline against Arsenal, instead insisting it is just three more points on the way to the ultimate goal of regaining the title.
The Welsh midfielder scored a Goal of the Season contender in the first half as the Blues produced a magnificent 4-1 victory at the home of the defending champions to lay down a sizeable marker in the race to be crowned WSL champions.
Victory completed a league double over the Gunners following our 2-1 win at Kingsmeadow earlier this term and moved Chelsea to within a point of Arsenal and new leaders Manchester City with a game in hand on the top two.
While Ingle was fully aware of the significance of not only the result but the performance, she admitted the unbeaten Blues need to keep our focus having already dropped points away at Brighton and Liverpool.
‘It boosts us to get the win. When you play a top, top team like Arsenal it isn’t easy, so to get the three points is great and we can enjoy a couple of days off,’ she said.
‘The three points is the main thing and we can build momentum off the back of this for next week and beyond. It is frustrating to drop points in other games but teams like Brighton and Liverpool sit deep and put players behind the ball so it isn’t as easy as people think.
‘It is different against teams like Arsenal who come at you but we know we need to be better against the other teams but all that matters is that we got the three points here and are in the title race.
‘We definitely need to improve in the other games but we are creating a lot of chances in every game and just need to take them and as you’ve seen against Arsenal we are capable of scoring against anyone.
‘It is a little bit frustrating not to be top but there is only one point in it and we have a game in hand so we just need to focus on the next game.’
Ingle’s strike capped a remarkable start for the Blues. Bethany England put us in front with a spectacular curling effort and then Sam Kerr opened her account for the club before the Welsh midfielder fired a left-footed half-volley past Manuela Zinsberger to put us three up with barely 20 minutes played.
Despite sitting deep in Emma Hayes’ midfield it was Ingle’s third goal of the season, and the Wales captain was in no doubt it was her best to date.
‘I’m not really sure what happened with the goal!’ she exclaimed.
‘I think Beth was going to head it but I shouted and just hit it and luckily it went top bins! Definitely the best of my career.
‘I think I knew [it was in] from the moment I hit it, Beth got out the way when I shouted for it and luckily I caught it sweet and it went in.
‘We always seem to score good goals against Arsenal so it was good.’
The Blues’ flying start caught Arsenal cold with other chances coming and going in a first half dominated by the visitors. But Ingle revealed there was no special game plan, just a case of improving what we have been doing all season.
‘You have to start well and it is nice to get early goals but goals aren’t our main focus. We always press high and when we get the ball we want to get it in the net and we did that,’ she added.
‘I wasn’t surprised we started well, I am just glad we did as we have been sluggish in other games at the start. We were good in possession and the quality of our passing was good and that allowed us to get people in the box like Sam and Beth, who are a great threat.’
The Blues travel across London to take on Championship club Charlton Athletic in our FA Cup tie on Sunday. Then the following Sunday we return to Kinsmeadow for the visit of west Ham United in the WSL.