Magdalena Eriksson believes the depth within the Blues squad has played a major part in Chelsea Women reaching the Continental Cup final for the first time in the club’s history.
The Blues topped our group by picking up 13 out of 15 points thanks to wins against West Ham, Crystal Palace, Lewes and Tottenham before ending the group stage with a draw against Reading.Emma Hayes’ side then beat Championship outfit Aston Villa 3-1 in the quarter-finals before clinching a 1-0 away win at Manchester United to reach the final.On the road to this evening's final, there were debuts for Charlotte Fleming and Charlotte Wardlaw and 16-year-old Emily Murphy came off the bench against Villa to net her first goal for the Blues. Skipper Eriksson has hailed the impact of the youngsters.‘It’s been amazing to see some of our younger players get the chance and doing really well,’ she said.‘They took their chance and showed that they are good enough to play at this level.‘They’ve been really helpful when we needed them, they really stepped up so I think that is something we need to take away from this tournament.‘Everyone has got playing time, everyone has done well, everyone has contributed and that’s the reason why we are in the final.‘Of course it becomes a different story when you are in the final and I think it’s important that everyone feels and is aware that they have played such a huge part in us getting to the final.’Eriksson will lead the Blues out at the City Ground later today and she is set to come up against Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema.
Miedema is joint top scorer in the Women’s Super League, alongside our very own Bethany England, and Eriksson says she always looks forward to the challenge of coming up against the best strikers in the league.‘I get the opportunity to play and train against the best strikers in the world and that’s what I love about this league,’ she said.‘As a defender, I learn so much everyday just from working with the likes of Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Bethany England and playing against Ellen White and Miedema.‘For sure, I prepare differently for different players because every player is so different.‘We have a really good analysis team who give me a lot of information about players and it doesn’t matter who we play against, we always discuss what the strikers' abilities are and for me it’s really important to know.‘I really enjoy it and it’s really exciting. It gives you, within the game, your own game against your player.’
If Eriksson wins her individual battle against Miedema it will make a big contribution towards the Blues potentially lifting the Continental Cup for the first time in the club’s history and that would delight the 26-year-old captain, knowing it would stop boss Emma Hayes from talking about the domestic trophy that still eludes our cabinet.‘We’ve been talking about the Continental Cup from the start of the season. We’ve never won this cup and that’s been the fuel in every game we played in the Continental Cup. I think we all got a bit tired of Emma saying it as well so we said we've got to win this so she can’t say that anymore!‘I think its extra special for Emma, her time leading up to this and now we finally got to the final and we’ve just got to make the most out of this final.'Today’s Continental Tyres League Cup final kicks off at 5.30 at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.