Niamh Charles says she and her Chelsea Women team-mates have been working hard to make sure we kick-start the season with a win in front of the Blues fans today.
After a disappointing start to our campaign as we failed to turn possession into points in a 2-1 defeat away at Liverpool on the opening day, it seems Emma Hayes and her squad have identified the key area they need to do better in ahead of our first home game of 2022/23 against Manchester City.
Given that Chelsea took an early lead at Prenton Park and were unlucky not to go two up when Sam Kerr had a goal disallowed for a dubious offside call, before Liverpool came back through two second-half penalties, the Blues are keen to make sure we press home any advantage this time around with an improved performance in the attacking third.
‘We’ve reviewed it this week and we’ll work even harder and I think we’ll be ready for Man City,’ said Charles. ‘It’s not panic stations, it was just one of those results, and we’ll keep focusing on ourselves and the process and getting those things right and hopefully the results will come.
‘I like to be out wide and delivering crosses and I like to be defensively solid but also involved in the attack as well, so I definitely want to contribute to the attack better than I did last week and produce more quality crosses into the box.
‘That’s something I think as a team we’ll be looking to do as well. To execute our game in the final third a little bit better. That’s what we’ve been working on this week and hopefully we can take it into the game.’
In addition to wanting to bounce back from that opening day defeat, there is added incentive for the Blues to pick up our first win of the season in today’s Women’s Super League fixture with Manchester City, as it will be the first match of the campaign at what is expected to be a packed Kingsmeadow, in front of our own supporters.
‘It will be great to get Kingsmeadow packed out,’ she added. ‘Even the Tottenham game it was really full, considering it was a friendly, so I’m really looking forward to having our first game back at Kingsmeadow this season.
‘Hopefully it will be a really busy crowd and they’ll be out in loud voice, as they always are, and that’s something I really appreciate. The value of our fans is the support they give us home and away, but especially at home. It creates such an amazing atmosphere, so hopefully they’ll do that again today.’
Although the main focus is on what the Blues need to do and the backing of our fantastic home support, Charles isn’t overlooking our opponents either, as City will also be eager to pick up three points after losing their own opening game 3-2 at Aston Villa.
‘City have always had a very clear philosophy as a ball-playing, possession-based team. So we’ll expect that, there’s no reason to think any different. They also had a defeat on the opening day as well, so both teams will be looking to bounce back.
‘They’ve got a few new signings as well so we’ve been looking at them this week and how they might have slightly changed, but we’re definitely expecting a very hard game and for them to really try to exploit us as much as we exploit them.’
Of course, Manchester City aren’t the only side to add to their squad over the summer, and Charles revealed she is as excited as anyone to see what the Blues’ new signings can do ahead of their first competitive game at Kingsmeadow.
‘They’ve all settled in really well and it’s been seamless really. I think it’s really nice that they all bring different things and they’re all unique in the way they play football, which really balances the team out and provides different strings to our bow. It’s really exciting to see how they’ll develop, but they’re all going to make us better and hopefully take us to that next level.’