Emma Hayes fielded a much-changed team for our Vitality Women’s FA Cup fourth round tie against London City Lionesses, but Chelsea secured a convincing victory and the Blues boss was delighted with the high-quality performance from her side.
With a number of Blues only returning from international duty on Thursday and season-defining games on the horizon for Chelsea, Hayes rested a host of senior players and handed first starts to youngsters Jorja Fox and Aggie Beever-Jones.
Charlotte Wardlaw also came into the side for her third appearance for the club as goals from Niamh Charles, Jess Carter, Melanie Leupolz, and a brace from Drew Spence secured a 5-0 victory at Kingsmeadow and booked our place in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Chelsea will now play either Everton or Durham at home in the next round and Hayes was pleased with her side's professional display on Friday evening.
She said: ‘I thought the intensity and the pace of the game was really good considering there had been so many changes.
‘A game that after an international break you are not really sure how the team are going to come back, but I thought we were outstanding in everything that we delivered tonight.
‘I thought we looked really fresh. We hunted the ball well out of possession, we showed courage to get on the ball and there was a lot of selfless movement to create space.
‘The girls executed what we asked of them and I really enjoyed it.’
Drew Spence netted twice to take her tally to 47 goals for the club, while youngsters Fox, Beever-Jones and Wardlaw all had solid performances.
‘I thought the young players came in and showed why they are deserving of their chance at this level.’ Hayes said.
‘I thought Jorja Fox had an excellent game and I thought Drew was outstanding throughout.’
Hayes also highlighted the contribution from Charles, who made her first senior start for England last week and impressed throughout Friday’s 5-0 win, scoring the opener, and providing two assists.
She added: ‘That’s what happens if you apply yourself properly. She’s a top person and someone who takes on everything that is given to her and she’s flourishing as a result of it.
‘She is not afraid to give what is necessary and I don’t think people realise how much top professionals have to sacrifice to get to where they want to go to.
‘Niamh for me is a top professional, her dedication to herself, and to her task, is why I think she will go on and have a great career in the game.’