Emma Hayes expressed her delight as Chelsea FC Women picked up three points on the road against Brighton & Hove Albion yesterday to extend our unbeaten run in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
In what were difficult weather conditions, the Blues showed resilience and managed to grind out a 1-0 win against a well-drilled Brighton side thanks to a clinical header from Sam Kerr early on in the game.‘I respect Hope Powell so much and I respect the organisation of her team of all phases of the pitch,’ Hayes said after the game. ‘They have been a bogey team for us, we drew here last year and I am as delighted with this win as I am with any win.‘We didn’t take the second goal in the right moment and then you have to defend properly so if you want to compete for titles you have to come here and win this game, that’s something that was clear from the off and I’m so over the moon with the result.‘Bringing Sophie [Ingle] into the game was needed as was bringing a second striker in to allow us to go a bit more direct and I thought Beth, Sophie and Guro came in and did a tremendous job for the team in difficult circumstances.
‘If you want to win leagues you have to grind results out, that’s what it’s about winning leagues and we have the experience of doing that over the years.‘It can’t always be pretty every week and it can’t always be multiple goals, it’s about getting the job done and it’s only when you look back on the season and you look at games like this and realise how big it is,’ Hayes continued.Matchwinner Kerr registered her fourth goal in two league games having netted a hat-trick in our 3-2 victory against West Ham United last weekend, bringing her goal scoring tally to seven.The Chelsea boss spoke highly of the Australians current form and said: ‘We know her value, we know what she brings and in her and Beth [England] we’ve got two outstanding players that can score goals and we’re going to need that across the course of the season – I’m really happy for Sam today and the goal she got because that’s what we brought her in for.‘It’s a team game and everybody has to contribute towards that. Each of them are going to take it in turns every week and this week her goal was the telling contribution.‘Sam knows what I think of her and what her team thinks of her and she’s got the confidence and trust of us.‘She’s improving week in, week out and the criticism has been extremely harsh by the media because she is a top talent that has settled into playing in the UK and she’s got the goals to show for it.’
Attentions swiftly turn to our Champions League round of 32 second leg against Benfica which takes place at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday (7pm kick-off).Hayes’ team got off to a strong start to the European competition last week having won 5-0 in the first leg and the manager has spoken about the importance in recovering quickly so that we are ready for the second leg on Wednesday.‘We have to get used to this, we’re a team competing for the four titles so recovery is a key part of the professionalism and standards we expect from the players and we know they will do that.‘It’s really important for us we qualify for the next round of the Champions league so all eyes are now on that.’Wednesday’s Champions League encounter against Benfica can be viewed live on the Chelsea website, the 5th Stand app, our official YouTube channel and the women’s Facebook. Geographical restrictions may apply.