Chelsea FC Women manager Emma Hayes has hailed the Blues’ second-half performance after an emphatic 5-0 win against Reading in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League yesterday evening.
Braces from Sam Kerr and Bethany England and a superb strike from Jessie Fleming ensured Hayes’ side gained all three points as the title race continues at the top of the WSL.
The Blues sit at the summit of the WSL, winning our last five league games scoring 22 goals in the process. Hayes’ side are one point ahead of Arsenal with four games remaining.
Our pleased manager said: ‘We had a good energy about us in the first half, but we had to grind them down.’
The boss was full of praise for Jessie Fleming after she scored the opener, adding: ‘It was a wonderful finish, it really helped to come in at half-time 1-0 up.
‘Second half I thought the execution of the last part was what was missing. I said that to Guro at half-time – her final ball needed to be better, needed to provided more service for the front two and we did that, with the ball into Beth, a superb finish!
‘We were outstanding, especially in the second half.’
The Blues have been solid defensively this side of Christmas and have not conceded a goal in five competitive games - a stat Hayes is proud of.
‘We’ve been superb, especially the last eight to 10 games, at controlling the play a little bit better - not creating as many transition moments for the opponents. We seem to be better in our build-up, our decision making, and as a result of that opponents are creating less against us.’
Despite the off-field noise surrounding the club, Hayes and her players have continued to deliver the results on the pitch.
‘We have all done a good job of getting on. Our lives haven’t really been affected internally, nothing has changed so as I’ve said many times it’s about the club getting on, doing their due diligence. We just need to focus on the business of winning and improving.
‘That for me is what you want to see as a manager, it’s not just about peaking at the right point, you have to keep finding little wins and little improvements and I feel like our whole squad is on the same page and that takes a lot of work to get to that point so credit to the whole environment for that.’
Kerr, who was on for a hat-trick, selflessly gave England the chance to convert our stoppage-time penalty and seal the win against Reading.
‘That’s what our environment is: put the team first, put your team-mates first. For Sam to do that for Beth is a real testament to the class and the quality that she has as a human being, but equally Beth deserves that too.
‘Beth was tireless in what she did for the team, second half she was superb, and I’m so pleased for her, she’s back amongst the goals, she’s performing well at a time we need everybody to do that.
‘I value everything that takes place on the training pitch. Her work this half of the season has been outstanding, she had a blip with the injury, but she’s kept her head down. Beth has done a great job of playing her part, but this half of the season she’s just improving and she’s contributing on a much bigger level and I’m really proud of her approach and she’s getting the rewards for all her hard work.’
It's international break now with many of our Blues representing their countries over the next two weeks. We’re back in action on Sunday April 17 when we travel to Arsenal for the semi-final of the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
We are next at Kingsmeadow on Thursday 28 April when we host Tottenham Hotspur in the WSL. To purchase tickets to our clash against Spurs, click here.