Difficult weather conditions proved to play a part in Saturday’s encounter against Lewes, but Emma Hayes praised her Chelsea Women side for their fight and determination which helped secure a 2-1 victory in the Continental Tyres Cup.
There was some doubt as to whether the game would go ahead on the Saturday morning due to the strong wind and torrential rain. However, after a pitch inspection three hours prior to kick-off, the match was given the green light.
We got the job done professionally at a damp Dripping Pan, courtesy of Erin Cuthbert’s early goal and Magdalena Eriksson’s second-half winner, but it was not exactly plain sailing for the Blues.
Our opponents did not make it easy for us and Hayes says they produced a performance that their club should be proud of.
‘What a great performance from Lewes, their goalkeeper was outstanding, their team as a whole made it extremely difficult for us.
‘We know about the [weather] conditions but full credit to Lewes, they did their club proud and I have full respect for the work their doing on and off the pitch. I’m delighted to win the game but I’m fully respectful, the opposition gave us a tough one.’
Read: Women's report Lewes 1-2 Chelsea
While our 100 per cent record in the Continental Tyres Cup continues, the Chelsea boss said her team showed character and resilience to find the winning goal, admitting that it may have not been the case a year ago.
‘We have lost a game like this in the past and if I’m honest with you I think we would have drawn this game last year,’ she stated. ‘That is what the difference is with our side, we’re able to come through difficult games.
‘There is a resilience to us and if we can develop a ruthlessness to our performances we wouldn’t be in this position. I don’t want to take away the work and the effort from the opposition though because I thought they did their fans proud.’
Hayes also talked about the inclusion of Chelsea Academy centre midfielder, 17-year-old Charlotte Fleming, who earned her first senior start against Lewes
‘I am very happy, I would have liked to have brought another one on the pitch but the result is the business and we have to win games, but I am very happy with Charlotte, she’s a player who has a bright future with us.
‘When she turns 18 she’ll become full-time with us, she deserves that for her efforts in training and her application. If she keeps her feet on the floor and keeps progressing like she is, she will have a very bright future,’ Hayes added.
There is no game this weekend for us due to the international break with a number of Chelsea Women players representing their countries. However upon their return, we have the test of playing Manchester United for the first time on Sunday 17 November. The game takes place at Kingsmeadow and kicks off at 2pm. Three days later, we play Spurs under the Kingsmeadow lights in the Continental Tyres Cup, with a 7pm kick-off.