Emma Hayes picked out Jessie Fleming as a star performer in Sunday’s crucial victory over Manchester United, saying she has reaped the rewards for the hard graft she has put in on the training field at Cobham.

The Canadian featured in her 12th game of our WSL season in the crucial win over Marc Skinner’s side, positioned in the engine room although operating in a slightly more advanced role than normal.

After the contest, Hayes heaped praise on the 25-year-old, while highlighting her huge work ethic behind the scenes.

‘She had a magnificent game, she really needed that. That performance will do her confidence the world of good as she prides herself on her defending,’ Hayes beamed.

‘She has been working so hard to master the physicality of this league and I think that is a performance for all the hours that you put in on the training ground with coaches and for yourself. It was her birthday on Saturday and I said to her, “you really needed that game.”

‘She is a midfielder and she had a role today and she executed that role,’ Emma added.

‘What I know about this group is that players will always step up at different times. Look at Melanie Leupolz, for example. She has not played much, 45 minutes then 80, and now 90 minutes, in her first week after being out for nearly a year. Absolutely tremendous from everyone!’