Interview

Mjelde on championship-winning campaign and looking ahead to next season

In part one of a two-part interview, Maren Mjelde explains what it means to Chelsea FC Women to be crowned winners of the 2019/20 Barclays FA Women’s Super League and speaks about her excitement at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

The Blues were recently awarded the Women’s Super League title – based on a points-per-game system – following the termination of the competition due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Before English top-flight football was suspended, Mjelde and her team-mates were in a favourable position to clinch the trophy for a third time in our history. We were undefeated and in second place in the table, one point behind Manchester City but with one less game played.

The Norway international who played a part in 14 out of 15 league games this term believes the Blues are worthy winners and explained exactly why.

‘It feels good to win [the WSL] again, but under weird circumstances this time,’ she admitted. ‘I’m happy, but I wouldn’t say I’m celebrating it like I would if we’d won on the pitch.

‘It had to be done, they had to make a decision and I feel the result is fair. I think we have been the best team in the league and you can see that in the fact we haven’t lost a game this year and we’ve taken 10 out of 12 points against our top rivals.’

Mjelde was unable to celebrate the title with her team due to current circumstances, so the 30-year-old opted for a more low-key get-together with her closest family members.

‘I would have loved to have celebrated with those I won it with, but we can’t do that!

‘It’s not the same as celebrating with your team-mates, but also you wouldn’t have been able to celebrate with your family like this otherwise. So it’s special in a different way.

‘It would have been really good to have the team around and celebrating with them, but we will have to do that another time. This is the goal: next year we win everything and then we can celebrate double,’ she said.

Having missed out on Champions League football this season after our third-place finish in the 2018/19 league campaign, the defender has expressed her delight in us returning to the European stage. Chelsea had an incredible run in the competition last year but narrowly missed out on a place in the final, losing to Lyon with our semi-final tie finishing 3-2 on aggregate.

‘We won the league and also the Continental Cup, which has been a big thing for us, and now we have Champions League football,’ Mjelde said.

‘We have so much to look forward to and we want to continue with the hard work and what we’ve been doing for the past year.

‘I feel like we belong in the Champions League, but you have to show you belong there and work to make sure that happens, and we didn’t do that the year before.

‘I think that’s what everyone is really happy about: to be back in the Champions League. We have been so close previously, especially against Lyon last year, to reaching the final. So, going from that to not even having the Champions League to play in has felt really weird. That should be our biggest goal in the future, to win the Champions League.

‘It’s the biggest tournament you can play in at club football and I feel now, after the meeting, I can finally motivate myself for what’s going to happen. It gives more energy to work hard and be prepared to go into the pre-season.’

Quiz: How much of Chelsea Women's season do you remember?

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