Tomorrow Chelsea Women return to action when we take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Continental League Cup and manager Emma Hayes wants to see her team pick up where we left off before the international break.
Tuesday’s Group B match, which kicks-off at 7pm, is being streamed on the 5th Stand app, this website, Chelsea FC Women’s Facebook page and our official YouTube channel.Chelsea returned to training at Cobham at the end of last week following a pause in domestic football due to an international break which many of our players starred in. It was a successful break for a number of our Chelsea representatives who sealed qualification for the UEFA Euro 2022 finals with their respective countries.Maren Mjelde reached 150 caps for Norway, while Sophie Ingle was presented with her 100th cap for Wales.‘I’m really happy for those that qualified for the Euros, I know how much it means to them to play for their country and qualifying for major tournaments,’ Hayes said.‘I’m really proud of their achievements and certainly something we come to expect from them all. They are all top performers and doing well for both club and country.’How does the pause, when many of her players have been away, affect the build-up to the game for Hayes?‘I think the players are quite used to going away, playing for their country and then coming back to the club,’ Hayes responded.‘The challenges are doing that in a Covid era and so safety is of paramount importance, but they are used to doing this so there is not an issue with getting back into the swing of things here.’
Hayes is looking forward to seeing her squad back in action after a two-week break and hopes we continue our recent good run, which has seen three wins recorded on the spin.‘That’s what you learn to do over a period of time, you learn to develop that consistency regardless of going away for international break.‘I always think it’s critical that when they come back in that we get them straight back on the Chelsea page, because they have all been away with different set-ups and different set of expectations. Getting them on the same hymn sheet is always the most important thing when they return.‘I think the important thing when players have been away for the length of time they’ve been away, we just focus on getting back into our way of playing and we’ve been successful this season building game by game.
‘I think finding that rhythm as quickly as possible is what I will be looking for from the team come Tuesday,’ Hayes continued.Although Chelsea have a good track record against our London neighbours, with the Blues winning 5-1 the last time we met, Hayes expects a difficult encounter against Spurs.‘Tottenham against the top teams this year have performed really well,’ she said. ‘They are getting closer with every game, it’s still a London derby and those games are pretty tough, but I’ve always liked to focus on ourselves.‘I like to focus on the strengths and depth that we’ve got, that’s key, and we’ve got to make that count going into the game tomorrow. Everyone has had to perform in training to put themselves in contention for selection.’
Hayes also provided an update on Fran Kirby’s injury that she sustained during an England training game last week.‘Fran’s been assessed by the medical team, she’s got an ankle injury and she’ll be out for weeks. I don’t know how many so I’m not going to put a number on it but hopefully it won’t be too long and we look forward to seeing her back on the pitch soon.’The manager also spoke of her delight in the club streaming the match on various Chelsea platforms, making the clash accessible for our supporters to watch safely at home.‘I’m happy the club are streaming the game, I think our club does a lot for women’s football and it’s important to remember that and I’m glad they have listened to us on this one.‘I know it really matters to the fans at a time that they can’t be with us and I know the players really appreciate it too.’