Emma Hayes has challenged her side to bounce back after Chelsea FC Women fell to a 2-1 defeat in Sunday’s 2019/20 FA Cup quarter-final against Everton.
The Blues started the tie well and went ahead inside five minutes at Goodison Park through Erin Cuthbert who struck a low finish into the bottom corner.
We had several chances to extend our lead in the first half, but were unable to make our dominance count on the scoreboard and we soon got punished through a defensive mishap on the brink of half-time, gifting our hosts a route back into the game.
Similar to the first half, the Blues had much of the possession after the break plus numerous opportunities to take the lead, however it just wasn’t to be in the final third for our forwards yesterday.
Everton produced another sucker punch on a rare counter attack on 63 minutes, which was ultimately enough for them to advance in the competition, despite Hayes shifting her team around with the hope of keeping our FA Cup campaign alive.
‘The first 25 minutes we’ve got to take our chances,’ reflected Hayes after the game. ‘We went 1-0 up and we had the chance to go 2-0 up, we pushed them back but we still have work to do to finish a game off.
‘We made a mistake, they got one chance and score and in the second half we built up and made a mistake again – they were the two chances they had the whole game.
‘We have to say congratulations Everton – they defended well, they made it difficult for us to put the ball in the back of the net and our finishing phase wasn’t quite at its best level. We dominated in the area but whether the cross was over hit or whether we hit the ball into the goalkeeper's hands, I never felt we were clinical enough when it really mattered.
‘It happens it’s football, we’ve lost to a team who has defended resolutely and capitalised on two mistakes and that happens. I think for us if we were out there another 90 minutes, I’m not sure we would have scored so that is something for us to reflect on.
‘I always think this fixture after international break is tough, I’m disappointed but we have to be humble in defeat and congratulate Everton on a good performance.
‘We are out of the FA Cup, it’s disappointing because I would love to be going to Wembley but you have to be as gracious in defeat as you are in victory.’
The Chelsea boss acknowledges what needs to be worked on this week ahead of our Barclays FA Women’s Super League match versus Birmingham and expects to see a positive reaction from her squad.‘We didn’t do enough in front of goal. I think teams are defending really low and they are making it difficult for us to have any space. That’s my point of when we get into good areas we have got to finish and them equalising gave them a lift.
‘I just expect my team to react and get ready to go for next weekend. We don’t have a game midweek, I want to see a response on the training ground and they have shown me time and time again that they can respond and that’s what I will challenge them to do.’
On Sunday the Blues travel to the Midlands to play Birmingham in the Women's Super League. The match kicks off at 2.30pm and is being broadcast on BT Sport.