Match Preview

Hayes: This team has a lot of potential

Emma Hayes has urged her players to produce another strong display when the Blues visit Manchester United on Sunday.

Chelsea bounced back from our opening day defeat to Arsenal with a dominant 4-0 victory against Everton to secure our first three points of the new campaign.

Speaking in a press conference today, Hayes demanded more from her side as the Blues aim to make it back-to-back league victories.

She said: ‘I’m never satisfied. I don’t think that will be different with any scoreline because you never have a perfect performance.

‘I felt there were things we could do better [against Everton]. This team's got a lot of potential, and I expect a lot.

‘We are in the position we are in because of the consistent habits and that’s what I would say is a strength of this team. It’s consistent in its performances.’

Chelsea’s only previous away Barclays FA Women Super League match against Manchester United ended 1-1 on the opening day of last season and Hayes expects another close battle on Sunday.

‘Manchester United have had a bright start,’ added Hayes. ‘There have been some changes in their attacking play, and you can see Marc [Skinner] imprinting his style of play on the team.

‘They’ve got quality throughout and a lot of internationals. They are at home and they will cause us as many problems as the top teams. They’ve got enough quality to do that, and I expect it to be a very close game.’

While away on international duty, three Blues reached milestones for their national teams. Ji So-Yun netted a record breaking 59th goal for South Korea, Sam Kerr made her 100th appearance for Australia, while Pernille Harder become Denmark’s all-time top goalscorer and Hayes praised the achievements of the Blues trio.

‘Ji is a wonderful player. She’s one of the world’s best, along with Pernille and Sam. Their international achievements only add to all of the successes we have had at the club.

‘We are really proud of them, not just as players but as people. They are all really top people and someone like Ji, she is a role model across the whole of Asia. It was a really proud day for her and her family.’

Hayes confirmed Lauren James will not be available for selection for this weekend’s clash but says the forward has settled in well since joining from Manchester United in the summer.

She said: ‘She’s home and she’s in an environment that was much needed for her with her family around. She’s not available for selection, not at this moment in time.

‘We still feel we’ve got to get some things right off the pitch. If we want Lauren to be successful, we’ve got to get everything in and around Lauren right. She’s still a young player that has played a lot of football and had substantial injuries.

‘My job is to make sure I keep her on the pitch once she comes back into the team and for now I’m taking the time to build all those areas around her.

‘There is a medical team, a performance team, a technical team all around Lauren and we want to get everything right so we are building Lauren for the long term and not just the opening few weeks of the season.’

Sunday's fixture at Manchester United kicks-off at 12.30pm and will be available to watch live on BBC Two. 

Before then, get involved in our new Women's Play Predictor for a chance to win some great prizes! Play on the 5th Stand app and make your selections for the game before registration closes.

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