Maren Mjelde believes that Chelsea Women are a better side to last season now that they are turning draws into important victories.
The Norwegian was the match winner in Sunday’s hard-fought 1-0 victory over Manchester United, scoring from the penalty spot after substitute Fran Kirby was fouled in the area by Millie Turner.
Last season, Emma Hayes’ side drew six of our 20 league games which saw them finish third behind champions Arsenal and second-placed Manchester City, but Mjelde believes the Blues have now found another level to our game which has enabled us to turn those draws into three valuable points.
The 30-year-old said: ‘I think our performance shows a difference from last year, these games we weren’t winning, we were drawing them or losing.
‘They [Man United] are a good team, they had a good plan and they made it difficult for us and so that’s why it is a really important win.
‘We want to compete this year, we want to win the league and to do that we have to win these type of games and that’s what we did.’
With an hour on the clock it looked as though both sides would be going away with a share of the spoils in what was a tightly-contested encounter but Hayes introduced Fran Kirby into the action and the forward made an instant impact. She was brought down in the box just five minutes after coming on to win the penalty that Mjelde slotted away. The Norwegian praised the impact of the substitutes - not just against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon, but in recent weeks too.
‘We know we have players on the bench that will make an impact and you can see that in all of the games we have played this season. The subs are coming on and making a difference so we have a really good squad of players.
‘At half-time we didn’t really feel that we hit the levels that we know we can. They made it difficult for us and we were following their plan more than we were following our plan but we changed that in the second half and I think the best team won in the end.’
On Wednesday evening the Blues take on Tottenham Hotspur for the second time this season. The Continental League Cup match kicks off at 7pm and tickets are priced at just £3 for adults and £1 for juniors (aged under 20) and seniors (aged over 65).