It was job done for Chelsea Women who sealed a place in the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup yesterday after beating Charlton Athletic, with focus swiftly moving to our other cup campaign – The Continental Tyres League Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Wednesday evening.
It was a slow start for the Blues against Championship strugglers Charlton Athletic, with our opening goal coming on the stroke of half-time despite having an abundance of possession. However, Chelsea grew into the game and eventually came away with a comfortable 4-0 victory thanks to two goals apiece from Drew Spence and youngster Emily Murphy.
Read – Women’s report: Charlton Athletic 0-4 Chelsea
‘I thought once we got ourselves going and we got the first goal the game became easier,’ Hayes reflected. ‘It was away from home, it was a tricky pitch, the opponents made it tough in the first half.
‘We had a lot of young players out there and on the pitch. It showed in the earliest parts of the game – there was just that lack of composure, at times that lack of technique.
‘It helped when Guro [Reiten] came into the game, it gave us that bit more width.’
Although it took Hayes’ side 45 minutes to find a break through against the tier-two team, Hayes insisted it was not surprising, despite many expecting otherwise.
‘That’s not unusual against that type of opponent, but once it came it made everything easier,’ said the manager.
‘Full credit to Drew Spence, she scored at a really important time to go into half-time with the lead. That settled the young players and in the second half I thought there was more space for us to play.
‘Drew’s [Spence] efficiency in front of goal has been outstanding for us, not just her whole time but this season in particularly. Her maturity, her wisdom and her experience, she really is an important player for us.
‘Emily [Murphy] is the future, a bright prospect and certainly took her chances today.’
We now travel north to face Manchester United in the Continental Tyres League Cup semi-final, which is followed by the visit of West Ham United on Sunday afternoon in the league at Kingsmeadow.
With matches coming thick and fast, Hayes has highlighted the importance of utilising every single squad member having made nine changes to our personnel for Sunday’s victory at Charlton. I have experience of knowing how hard three games in a week is. I value the squad we have with the quality amongst that group for us to do it and still win the result.
‘It’s risky, it’s always a risk when you change your team up but I think this is the best squad I have had since I’ve been here. They are more than capable and if I get the chance to recover players then I’m going to take it.
‘We have had the same group of players with the same manager over a long period time so we know how to prepare for these games it’s fair to say. But I never underestimate anyone, it’s not in my nature.
‘Honestly every game is important so we don’t pay particular attention over this week to last week.
‘Football is always a bubble, you feel like everything is life and death every week but the realities are that we’re still unbeaten and we’re in all competitions and that’s what we’ve got to keep our focus on.
‘We need to get our recovery right and get ready for United on Wednesday.'
Tickets for the Blues' next home game against West Ham on Sunday are priced at £9 for adults and £1 for concessions.