Pernille Harder joined Chelsea FC Women in September ahead of our 2020/21 season from German side Wolfsburg. We sat down with the Denmark captain and spoke about her first impressions of the team, the quality of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and being named the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.
The 27-year-old also spoke about scoring her first Chelsea goal, what it’s like working with manager Emma Hayes and more…
How are you settling in?
‘It’s good, the girls are really nice to me and I’m enjoying the training. I feel it’s an amazing team and I have a lot of belief in the team. There’s a lot of amazing players and I just look forward to the season.’
Early impressions of the Women’s Super League and English football?
‘It’s a high level – the results already show that anything can happen in the league here. That’s also why I came here, to get this excitement in the games. I find it a really exciting league.’
How are you finding London as a new home?
‘I love it, I love to live here in London and I like the lifestyle. It fits me really well. There is a lot of good restaurants, so much to see and do.’
Is it helpful having a big Scandinavian contingent here?
‘Of course, it always helps with some Swedes and some Norwegian. I can always speak Danish with them, and a little bit of Swedish, so it really helps me to feel at home.’
How did it feel to score that first goal – and did you mean the flick?!
‘Yeah, I actually meant it! It was nice, always nice to get the first goal and not have to wait for it. That it could come so fast was really nice for me.’
What’s it like working with Emma?
‘It’s been good. It’s inspiring to get a new kind of coach, a new way of thinking and seeing different parts of the game. I’m enjoying it.’
Any team-mates surprised you with their quality?
‘No, I knew it’s a really good team. There’s so many gifted talents in the team, technical and also creative players, so I knew what I came into. I see what they can do and it really excites me for the rest of the season.’The title race is already looking exciting! There has been so much improvement in the league this season, too…
‘The first five or six teams are really good, they can take points from anyone. Maybe there’s a bottom that’s not on the same level, but the fact there are five or six teams on that level is really impressive.
‘It will make it so interesting; you know everyone can lose points. That’s important, instead of having leagues with just two good teams, and those two teams just take points from each other.’
You are the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year. How does that feel?
‘I’m super happy! It’s one of those individual awards you dream of, and now I actually get my second. This award was a dream when I was little.
‘I think I will understand how big this award is when I stop playing. My goals for next season and the season after will be the same – winning it again. All the hard work I put in, all the sacrifices – I’m super proud.’
Does it motivate you to keep trying to get to next level?
‘Yeah, it does. It shows that what I’m doing is the right thing, and I need to keep on doing, keep having the same mentality, the way I work on the field, the way I train in the gym – that I’m on the right path. I just have to keep on doing that.’