Chelsea FC Women went down in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League history books last night as our 4-0 win over Aston Villa took us to 32 matches unbeaten, resulting in a new league record, and Emma Hayes praised the consistency of her squad.
The comfortable win against league newcomers Villa means the Blues return to the top of the table as the only undefeated side in the league this term, with one game in hand over second-placed Manchester United.
Speaking post-match last night, Hayes reflected on the achievement and claimed consistency is the key ingredient to this magnificent milestone.
‘I didn’t think about it prior to the game because it’s not a trophy, but it’s a record that shows just how consistent this team has been in the last couple of years,’ she said.
‘There is a reason that we’ve been the champions and not just because of that record but because of the consistency levels in the performances and that’s what happens when you’ve got such a great group of people.
‘I represent a fantastic team who are all deserving, they put a shift in, they work hard and I’m very proud of all of them and everybody that works at the football club.’
Hayes, who is now in her eighth season at the club, has led her side to eight pieces of silverware and is hoping to clinch more this season. The experienced manager remains humble about her accomplishments and said: ‘What I’ve learnt is that nothing is achieved over night but you need the setbacks, the setbacks are what serve as reminders of future reference of what not to do in your next moments.
‘I’m an experienced manager and I’m an experienced manager because of all those failures, because of all those setbacks, not because of all the wins.
‘The group is growing with me, it’s not like I’m here alone, I have a group of players that some of us have been together for years and that collective wisdom is why we have more experience than most teams.
‘I’m always afraid of the youthful endeavour of our rivals because I know how important ambition, energy and drive is to winning, but what we’re learning is that to be consistent winners you have to have consistent behaviours daily,’ Hayes continued.
She remains focused on competing for the biggest prizes in the women’s game but has emphasised the importance of taking one step at a time.
‘It sounds like I’m ungrateful, I know it’s a big achievement but I’ve learnt that with the highs and lows with winning and losing you have to remove all the emotion from that, you have to constantly remind yourself of the daily processes to go through to get a win, not subsequent wins.
‘My consciousness is always about not being complacent, about making the team uncomfortable, about demanding higher standards every time.
‘I’ve been able to achieve that because I’ve got brilliant staff around me to help keep those standards high and I know the threats are bigger than they’ve ever been in the women’s game, but I also know the quality we’ve got too.’
Ahead of the match, Hayes revealed that she was expecting a well-organised Aston Villa side who would be difficult to breakdown, therefore, she praised her players for remaining patient, while highlighting Jessie Fleming's and Niamh Charles’ performances.
‘I’ve said this a lot this year, we played Arsenal at Borehamwood and they sat in their own half, this isn’t just lower league teams sitting in their half with nine or 10 bodies behind the ball, we’re facing that a lot of times.
‘Obviously we’re prepared for that in games and we have to train to break down blocks.'
‘There were players who have not played a lot of minutes, Jessie Fleming, Niamh Charles in particular and it was an opportunity for them to produce a performance that I was looking for.’
One player who has seen the rise of Chelsea Women over the years is our longest-serving player of over 10 years, Drew Spence, who came on as a substitute in the 73rd minute.
Hayes reserved praise for the 28-year-old midfielder and said: ‘Drew understands what Chelsea is about. She wants to play but Drew wants to contribute and everybody’s role is different.
'It’s not always that everybody is equal in that contribution of games, but Drew’s role is to contribute in every way she possibly can and she lives and breathes Chelsea.’