The Continental Tyres Cup remains the only domestic trophy Chelsea Women are yet to win and defender Deanna Cooper is determined to change that this season.
The Blues have won two FA Women’s Super League titles, the Spring Series and two FA Cups since Emma Hayes took charge in 2012 but a semi-final berth in the last two seasons is the best we have managed in the third domestic honour available.Today’s trip to Championship side Crystal Palace is the second Continental Cup fixture of the season, with the Blues beginning with a 2-0 victory over West Ham last month in Group D. Joining us in the group are Reading, Tottenham and Lewes.Hayes is expected to rotate her squad for the trip to Palace, with several who did not feature in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League likely to feature. And should Cooper be given the nod to start, the defender is eager to impress from a personal perspective, as well as keep the Blues on track in the competition.
‘We’re looking forward to the game, the Continental Cup is a trophy we haven’t won at the club,’ she said. ‘We want to win everything we can so we need to make sure we get a win on Sunday.‘These are the games that some of the players who potentially don’t play all the time get their chance to prove themselves. It gives them game time and the opportunity to show the staff we’re fighting for positions, the staff know that and know that we’re putting in the work every day, but it also gives us a chance to show what we’ve been working on in training.‘For me and some of the other girls who don’t play as much look forward to these games, they are really important because it gives us the opportunity to showcase what we can bring to the table because we may bring something different to some of the players that are already starting.’
Cooper and her team-mates remain unbeaten in all competitions this season and despite Sunday’s opponents playing their football outside the top-flight, the 26-year-old insists the Blues will not be taking their opponents lightly.
‘They have got good players, they have got players in on loan from the WSL and players that are really experienced,’ said Cooper who joined the club in 2017.
‘It’s going to be a tough game but if we focus on what we have to do, then we should have another strong performance.‘I think the focus with us is to continue to play our game on Sunday and they are going to have to adapt to what we’re doing. Obviously women’s football has grown so much that no game is going to be easy and we know that Crystal Palace will try and make it hard for us.’
The Blues met Palace in the 2018/19 Continental Cup campaign and came away 4-0 winners. That match marked Cooper’s first 90 minutes since the 2017 Spring Series after returning from an ACL injury.
Chelsea's next home game takes place on Sunday 17 November, with 2pm kick-off against league debutants Manchester United. Tickets are on sale and priced at £1 for juniors (aged under 20) and seniors (aged over 65) and £9 for adults.