Chelsea Women head coach Emma Hayes was full of praise for the way her team responded to conceding an early goal by fighting back for what ended up being a relatively comfortable win over West Ham United at Kingsmeadow.

It wasn’t the start to the match Hayes or her players were hoping for as they went behind from a corner in the third minute on Wednesday evening, but by the final whistle there was no question we were deserved winners.

Fran Kirby got the Blues level before half-time and two set-piece goals of our own, scored by Sam Kerr and Millie Bright, ensured our almost complete control, especially during the second half, was reflected in the 3-1 scoreline, even if it could have been more comfortable after Kerr was twice denied by the woodwork and Lauren James had a penalty saved.

‘It was a great reaction to going down,’ said Hayes. ‘I thought we needed the rest of the half to break them down and the goal came at the right time, before half-time. In the second half we moved it well, we were dominant in the end.

‘We hit the post twice, missed a penalty, I felt the scoreline should have been a little bit bigger but for me this is so early on in the season I just want to see the things we are working on and I felt that was the case.

‘They’re such a nice dressing room, they really are. They’re great leaders and people and it’s so easy to go and coach in these situations for me because we can make little changes, they adapt really well and I think they’re growing in confidence. I felt that by the end this was a game we really needed.

‘How we conceded the corner wasn’t up to scratch for us but I want to focus on the good things and the response ever since then. I felt we drove and drove and the players came into the game and finished the game off nicely. I’m just happy to win.’

With our first three matches of the season now complete and a two-week pause in the WSL for the upcoming international break, Hayes reflected on how her team is progressing at this early stage of the season, being pleased with the way things are shaping up, although she would like to see a more ruthless and streetwise streak emerge going forward.

‘I think our football’s improving,’ she added. ‘That’s one challenge set forward for the team, we want to improve, especially against the top teams. We had 60 per cent of the ball on Sunday, we had a large part of the ball today, we grew in confidence and I’m just disappointed that we could have won by a bigger margin.

‘We have to remember to win the fight first in a football match. At the moment we’re wanting to play football all of the time. We just need to make sure we do the right things in the right moments in the earliest parts of the game. That’s probably one challenge I will look at with my team, but I can’t fault the application, particularly in the second half.

‘I think we’re probably where we should be after three games. There’s a bit of rust sometimes in the performance but we’re trying to evolve and add different bits and I’m starting to see that. It’s not always about just winning, we want to win and improve. That’s all of our motivation and I think the players have probably left the pitch having enjoyed the game and if we can win and enjoy it then happy days.’

Hayes also reserved praise for the two players who made their full Chelsea debuts against West Ham after joining the Blues over the summer – Eve Perisset and Katerina Svitkova, who each provided one of the corners which led to our two second-half goals – as well as those who appeared as substitutes.

‘They were brilliant. It’s so hard to get into this team. It’s so hard to perform at the same level week in week out for everyone here, but especially the new players because they’re having to learn so much.

‘I’m really happy for them to make their full debuts, and for the players who came on from the bench. Bethany England, what a reaction, response and performance from her, especially after being left out of the England squad. I think she showed an absolutely tremendous attitude in the way she approached the game.

‘You can see the depth we’ve got for us to make the sort of changes we can make and still maintain the momentum, whether it’s Lauren or Beth coming into the game, Cankovic or Kaneryd. The latter two, like Svitkova and Perisset, they’re just starting on their journey here. They’re really good players and I look forward to their futures with us.’