Emma Hayes pointed to her squad’s significant experience in Champions League football as a deciding factor in last night’s win over Real Madrid at Kingsmeadow.

In the last two seasons alone Chelsea Women have a spectrum of participation that has gone from making the final to exiting at the group stage, and after first half against the team from the Spanish capital in which the Blues never really looked conceding but did not create many chances of our own, the Blues secured a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert.

‘I really liked the game,’ said Hayes as she reflected on a third straight win in this season’s group stage.

‘I think a couple of years ago we’d have got impatient, especially in the first half, but there is a maturity to the team coming through. We are calm and controlled.

‘Where we were lacking in the first half was clearly in the final third, whether it be execution, decision-making, the types of runs. All the stuff that happens in that part of the pitch wasn't at our top level, but it was a calm dressing room at half-time. When these two teams are so relatively evenly matched, I'm starting to see the importance of our experience in this competition, and what we've learned last year and the year before.

‘We are certainly playing better European football with becoming more accustomed to it and it was a really mature performance from the team.’

We are now five points clear at the top of Group A with half the games played and a return trip to Real Madrid to come. Paris St-Germain and Vllaznia from Albania are the other sides.

‘I was happy when the draw was made as sometimes you can have a little switch-off and say we've got the easier group,’ Hayes points out. ‘The fact we had a really tough group was perfect for this team because we've had to be switched on from start.’

There was praise from the manager for both the goalscorers, and in the case of Cuthbert not just for another eye-catching goal, on this occasion looped home from way out wide on the right, even if it may not be certain whether it was a deliberate shot.

‘She covered every blade of grass,’ said Hayes. ‘There was a tenacity to her performance even when there wasn't a tenacity to our performance [overall] in the first half. The second half she drove the team on and of course she meant every part of that top-corner finish!

‘Sophie has been brilliant. She deserves a lot of credit for the work she's done. She's pushed hard in the pre-season, she pushed physically to go up another level. To get in this team is really tough so players have to be conscious of all the work they have to do.

‘Sophie is a top professional. She's demanding more from herself in the way she wants to analyse her game and the way she prepares for the game. She's at a better level than 12 months ago.’