Emma Hayes hailed the defensive display from her side after Chelsea secured a 3-1 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Chelsea Women fell to defeat in this fixture last year but goals from Guro Reiten, Sam Kerr and Bethany England ensured there was no repeat of last season’s result and secured all three points for the Blues.

Speaking afterwards, Hayes stated the Chelsea team that beat Brighton on Saturday is much better to the one that lost out to the Seagulls last season.

She said: ‘They [Brighton] are a better team than they were last year but I actually thought they were more threatening to us last year. Is that because of how much better we’ve got? I think so.

‘We limited them. They scored a goal from a throw-in that never should have happened. Beyond that, I think they only had two shots.

‘We have to credit the defensive organisation of the team to limit a team that has scored seven goals in their first three games of the season. We were stingy with that but at 2-1 they are always going to be in the game, which they were.

‘For us, we needed the quality from the bench but Brighton are a team that is going in a great direction and they will take points off top teams this year.’

Reiten opened the scoring with her first goal of the season when she fired home from close range after nine minutes and Hayes feels Chelsea are seeing the best of the Norwegian midfielder.

‘It was a wonderful performance from Guro Reiten, she was exceptional today,' Hayes said. ‘She’s really taken to the wing-back role and she’s improving in all areas of her game. She’s added more to both sides.

‘Defensively she’s got better, she had to but going forward I don’t think there’s many left-footed players that have the ability to pick passes out like she does. I know that when she gets into good shooting positions, I see it every day in training, she’s a wonderful finisher.

‘What I knew is when I signed her or when I was recruiting her, we had a world-class left-sided talent. She’s fulfilling her potential this season.’

As was seen in our 6-1 victory at Manchester United and our 4-0 win against Birmingham City, the Blues substitutes made an immediate impact and that was the case once again at Kingsmeadow on Saturday.

England had only been on the pitch three minutes before the No.9 netted a crucial third goal and Hayes commented on her performance.

‘Every striker wants to score goals and I said to her, the impact that players are having from our bench will mean that there will be a moment when she’s going to come in and score an important goal for the team.

‘Everyone is really happy for her because that is what her confidence needed.

‘If I could play all of them at once, it would be an ideal world, but I can’t. What I know Beth brings to this team, whether she starts or comes from the bench, is that she’s a goal scorer.

‘Scoring that third goal today, shows the quality she has got and if we are to win on all fronts, we need players, whether they are starting or not starting, to be able to do that throughout the 90 minutes.’