Off the back of two high-profile victories in the space of four days this week, Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes discussed what is behind the side’s ability to win consistently, including the fortress that is home stadium Kingsmeadow.
It was there that Real Madrid were defeated 2-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, following on from a 3-0 WSL success over Spurs in a game held at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Those made it 10 wins in a row since a setback at Liverpool on the opening day of the season.
Hayes consistently points to experience as a key factor.
‘Look at my group, look at the leaders in my group, look at the quality level they have been playing at not just for us but for their countries,’ she pointed out. ‘I thought two years ago we had a decent amount of experience. This team is at another level.
‘This is the best squad we have ever had and the learnings from last year [when Chelsea exited the Champions League at the group stage] help, the learnings from losing in the  final help, winning the domestic titles help. It’s the combination of all of those things.
‘There's always a hunger to this team. I know the people, they wouldn’t allow anything less, but sometimes it's got to be more than just hunger and desire. We've got the quality to be able to come through these games. We’ve got the quality to do it, the experience to do it, and I can see the team going in the direction we want them to. I can really see improvements across the board in some of our play.’
As is the case with many successful teams, home form for Chelsea Women has been a bedrock of achievement over a number of years. Hayes agrees Kingsmeadow can be compared to a fortress, adding:
‘It's a bit like any of us, when you go home you don’t think about it, it is just your home. Weirdly, I felt Stamford Bridge was and we don't play there an awful lot, but that felt like going home at the weekend.
‘As [assistant coach] Denise [Reddy] always says, this is not our first rodeo. We've been around and done quite a lot in the last few years. Nothing feels like a surprise or new and I quite like that feeling.
‘I feel like we are all focused on what we have to do. I've seen confidence and the intention from the team and that is what I am enjoying as the coach at the minute.’