Chelsea FC Women earned a point in our opening Women’s Super League match away to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon and manager Emma Hayes believes there is plenty more to come from her side.
The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw on the first weekend of the new league campaign and although tight encounters are expected when we face Casey Stoney’s well-drilled side, Hayes felt we created enough chances to beat our opponent.
Chelsea dominated the first half and we deservedly went in front when Sam Kerr registered her first goal of the campaign with a tidy finish at the near post when she got on the end of Fran Kirby’s drilled cross.
The Blues had a handful of opportunities to finish off the game in the North-West, however a succession of missed chances allowed Manchester United to remain in the game and the hosts levelled the scoring through Leah Galton in the latter stages of the contest.
‘We created chances and didn’t finish,’ said the manager when asked about her team’s performance. 'It’s the million dollar problem with performance, I think that’s why you have got to reflect first and that’s what I’ll do.
‘I’ll look at the video and I’ll assess what’s necessary otherwise anything I say is just emotional.
‘I think we had the toughest fixture of all the top teams. Coming here has proven to be a single-goal game for us.
‘I’m experienced, I’ve been in this position enough times to know that there’s plenty of games all season and it’s for us to get on the training pitch and improve on where we failed..
‘I think we had an off day, that was a poor performance from us and how many teams are going to have a poor performance here and get a result?
‘The team has to understand that if you play poorly but you create chances, you’ve got to finish the game and that’s what I’m demanding from our team and that’s what I expect. We feel there is another gear or two in us so of course we’re disappointed.’
Hayes was happy to see Kerr get her name on the scoresheet and the Blues boss has encouraged the Australian forward to use this goal as a foundation to build upon. She also provided a quick update on last season’s top scorer Bethany England’s match fitness.
‘I’m pleased that she’s got off to a scoring start in the league and I think for her now she has to build on that,’ Hayes acknowledged.
‘Sam has a strong head on her shoulders, she can cope with anything thrown at her and I’m just delighted for her that’s she’s got her first goal this season.
‘With the qualities that Beth has got, hopefully she’s pushing towards full fitness, but she’s not quite there yet. We’re going to have options throughout the course of the season and I’ll take the positives.’
New signing Pernille Harder made her first appearance in a Chelsea shirt when she came off the bench with 10 minutes left to play and the Danish forward instantly showed the world-class qualities that she possesses.
‘Pernille knows our team quite well, she’s settled into training this week,’ Hayes highlighted. ‘Like any coach you would rather have that player through a pre-season but she’s such a top talent, it’s very difficult to keep her on the bench in a game like that.
‘We needed her, I thought she brought her qualities and maybe with a bit more time in the game, who knows how it would have finished out.
‘We’re happy she’s here and looking forward to working with her and looking forward to raising the bar at Chelsea,’ Hayes continued.
Next up for the Blues is a home match against Bristol City on Sunday. The match, which is being played behind closed doors, kicks off at 12.30pm and is being broadcast live on BBC Red Button.