Chelsea FC Women boss Emma Hayes spoke following our victory against Everton in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League at Everton last night, and praised the team's shooting prowess and the returning players...
The Blues applied pressure straight from the opening whistle, taking an early lead just seven minutes into proceedings when Sophie Ingle delivered an inviting cross which was met by Kerr who headed it into the far corner.Hayes’ side continued to dominate in the first half with two fantastic edge-of-the-box belters from Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert, taking the lead to 3-0 which ended up as the final score. ‘Forty-five minutes were outstanding in terms of our movement, we were dynamic,’ Hayes commented after the match. ‘We made it difficult for them to close spaces off, quality goals, two from distance. We haven’t had those in a while. Brilliant first 45!’
Although the pressure was kept up, there were no further goals to follow after the half-time break and Hayes attributed that to a number of factors.‘When you’re 3-0, it’s a commanding lead. I think the wind was a big factor, we struggled to build out of that wind. They changed their shape, we made five changes, that always disrupts so it was a combination of all of it.’However, Hayes was full of praise for the players stepping up to take shots throughout the 90 minutes, including Reiten and Cuthbert who handed her team the 3-0 victory.‘They are capable of that, this second half of the season we are demanding more from players in terms of chipping in for goals. It’s important, you can’t leave that all for Sam and with Fran out of the team, others have had to step up and they’ve done it again tonight.’
The boss was also happy to welcome the return of a number of players who had been out with injury with captain Magda Eriksson, Bethany England and Maren Mjelde coming on during the game and Cuthbert, who made the starting 11 and quickly got back into old ways of finding the net in the 29th minute.‘I’ve never known us to have as many injuries that we’ve had this year. Of course, every team has them but for us this has probably been the most injured we’ve been, and I do think that’s to do with accumulation for the players without a lot of recovery.‘So many of them have felt it at different points so for us to cope, it’s amazing, not just Erin. The players that have come into the team in the second half of the season have been absolutely phenomenal.’
Last night’s win means Chelsea are now two points off the top position in the WSL, with a game in hand over the Gunners and Hayes expects a tough race to the finish.‘Look, everybody knows we’ve got the tougher run in the league, we have to win every game, we know what we have to do. Every game is a Cup Final.’Next up, the Blues are back at Kingsmeadow this Sunday afternoon when we host Birmingham City in the quarter-final of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.