Ahead of our first pre-season outing against A.S. Roma on Sunday, manager Emma Hayes sat down to assess the team’s preparations for the new season, the integration of our new signings and an impending meeting with the Italian champions.
Having guided the Blues to the domestic Double last time out with a fourth consecutive WSL title and a third successive FA Cup triumph at Wembley, Hayes has enjoyed being back on the grass with the majority of the squad as preparations ramp up ahead of another season where we will compete on four fronts.
On a sunny afternoon at our Cobham training base earlier this week, the manager sat down to reflect on pre-season thus far, discuss new faces in the building, and look ahead to our encounter with Roma at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
With most of the squad having been reunited after the summer, Hayes gave an insight into how pre-season has been shaping up thus far.
‘The good news is that they are nearly all back,' confirmed Hayes.
'We’re waiting for a few more but it’s important for the players that have been here, particularly from the start of pre-season, that we work with them in their positions and work with them on our principles. Each time we get a new group back, we start adding in different layers to what we’ve been working on.
‘The quality has been really high and the players that have been here throughout the pre-season, their attitude and application has been outstanding. We look forward to getting the rest back so that we can kick on when we go on tour.’
While there have been reunions between familiar faces, we have seen new additions to the squad taking their first steps in Chelsea colours. Hayes knows patience is required as our summer signings bed into their new surroundings, but is delighted with the progress they are making.
‘They have settled in really well. It always takes time for players to settle into the environment because of the level of play and the intensity of the training.
‘The expectations and demands don’t just happen in a short period. They are all really good characters and I’ve been really pleased with what I have seen so far.’
It’s a clash of title winners when we welcome Italian champions A.S. Roma to Kingsmeadow for a pre-season fixture on Sunday. Hayes believes our opposition will provide us with a strong test on the night and is excited to be back playing in front of our home faithful.
‘Roma are an outstanding team. They had a brilliant season last year domestically and in Europe. I expect it to be a high level game but for us, we are still in pre-season. We want to experiment with players but give them the right amount of loading, depending on which stage they are in their pre-season.
‘Of course, being in front of our home fans is always something we look forward to and I’m pleased we’ve got a good level opponent.’