Maren Mjelde thinks that Chelsea Women are getting back to their best as the Blues make the trip across London to play West Ham in the Barclays Women’s Super League today, which kicks off at 3pm.
The Chelsea Women defender explains that the team is in a really good place having not lost a game and only conceded two goals in six fixtures so far this season.
‘It’s always important to keep clean sheets, those keep us in the games,’ Mjelde said. ‘We know we’re a really good defensive team and for all the defenders it’s one of our targets to get a clean sheet.
‘We have players who can score goals for us so as long as we can keep the team in the game by not conceding, we know we have players who are capable of putting it into the back of the net.
‘As important it is for forwards to score goals, it’s the same of us defenders in terms of not conceding goals,’ she stated.
Although the Blues met today’s opponents in mid-September and recorded a 2-0 victory for our opening Continental Tyres Cup fixture, the Norwegian international believes we have become stronger as the season has progressed and pointed out the significance in beating Arsenal in our last league match.
‘It was a tough game for us against West Ham, we know they have a good team,’ she admitted. ‘We’re more prepared for them than we were the first game, we’ve improved since then.
‘They [West Ham] have improved from last year, they have new players, but I think we’re in a good place now and it’s important for us to perform well against them.
‘We’re always one of the teams to beat, probably with Arsenal and Man City, so we’re expecting them to come at us hard, especially as it’s a home game for them.
‘We take every game seriously and it’s up to us to get the result on the day.
‘It was almost two years ago when we won the league last time, so you’ve always got to improve to win games in this league. It was a massive win for us against Arsenal, we knew that game was really important.
‘We started off a bit slow but we showed them and everyone that we’re here to compete.
Mjelde, who is typically a centre-back, now plies her trade at right-back for Chelsea and she highlighted the differences of her positional change.
‘I am trying to work out my new position, it was the position I played at the end of last season. I am familiar with it because I played as right-back six years ago, but it’s been a while and it’s a new challenge that I’m ready for.
‘For me it’s about trying to be the best I can. I always like a challenge and we have so many players at centre-back.
‘I have to think differently to what I’m used to, I end up in more one v ones offensively more than defensively.
‘I am really hard on myself, but sometimes I am good at rewarding myself - getting an assist is good as a full-back because it’s part of my job, so hopefully that’s what I can contribute to in this position,’ Mjelde added.
Mjelde also spoke about how Guro Reiten is settling into Chelsea and thinks her fellow Norwegian international team-mate will play a pivotal part in the Blues’ quest for silverware this campaign.
‘It didn’t take her long both on and off the pitch to be part of the group. She’s improving every day in training and we’ve seen that she’s already scored three goals which is really great for her and the team.
‘She has goals in her, assists and is an all-round talented player and I think she will just get better and better for us.’
The Blues return to our KT1 home on Sunday 17 November when we welcome Manchester United for the first time ever.