This afternoon sees Chelsea FC Women come up against Birmingham City in the Women’s Super League. Manager Emma Hayes has tasked her side to improve on last weekend’s performance by raising their standards in the Midlands.

Chelsea are on an incredible 23-game unbeaten streak in the league and have a strong track record against today’s opponent having beaten Birmingham on six of the last eight encounters.Last weekend, however, the Blues experienced defeat for the first time since our Champions League semi-final exit to Lyon back in April 2019. Everton ran out 2-1 victors in the quarter-final of the FA Cup. It was an unfamiliar feeling for Hayes’ Blues and the boss has outlined that she expects to see a response from her squad this afternoon.‘Last week was the first loss we’ve had since we were defeated by Lyon and I said to the players you’re never too good to lose.‘I told them that Everton fully deserved their win and that if you want to win games of football at the top level you must first and foremost defend properly as a collective.‘Defending well is at the heart of what we’re about over the years and those standards haven’t been the same so far this season.

‘For players to play in the team they have to do both sides of the ball all of the time and they must have the accountability to make sure that we’re robust and difficult to beat, which is of paramount importance.‘This week in training has been a team focus on the things that we can control and those controllables are deeply linked with our mindset.‘If we remember what our tasks are in the right moments, then there are no excuses for managing all aspects of the game. I expect the team to recover from a setback, I expect standards and I expect accountability.’Hayes also points out the importance of using our strengths to our advantage to ensure that we obtain all three points but she will not be taking our opponent – who reached the semi-final of the FA Cup – for granted.‘We need to make sure that we do what is expected,’ Hayes said. ‘We need to follow the process because when you do those things well you put yourself in the best possible position to get the result.

‘The fact they made it to the semi-final with a new manager in such a short space of time shows the quality that Carla [Ward] has got. I’ve heard great things about her and how she sets her team up so I know it will be difficult regardless because they will be organised.‘She’s got a great reputation, I approach every game with full respect of the opponent and it will be no different this week.‘I don’t take a single second lightly because as far as I’m concerned every game is a cup final.‘I think the important thing about performance is that you take one step at a time. When you start thinking about cup finals, or going top of the league etc before the next game then there is always a danger.‘Our sole focus is on winning today and winning is the standards that we have set at this football club.'

You can keep up to date with the match via our social media channels. There will be live commentary on our Twitter page, regular updates on Facebook and Instagram, plus footage of the matchday on our Instagram story. Simply search ‘ChelseaFCW' on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.The match will also be shown live on BT Sport from 2.15pm.