Chelsea Women’s Guro Reiten believes setting consistently high standards is key to maintaining our good run of form as the Blues go in search of an eighth consecutive league victory against Leicester City on Saturday.
We make the trip to the East Midlands occupying top spot in the table having put together an impressive run of seven straight victories in the Women’s Super League, taking us three points clear at the summit to close out November.
Our opponents, Leicester, are looking for their first points of the campaign and are in transition, having seen Willie Kirk replace Lydia Bedford in the manager’s hot seat. They will provide a stern test to kickstart a hectic fixture schedule which lies ahead in the run up to Christmas.
Previous meetings between the two teams have fallen in our favour, however these results are now irrelevant. Reiten says we must show respect for Leicester and that the focus must be on delivering our game plan to the best of our ability.
‘I know they haven’t got a point in the league yet, but that should only give them more motivation and put pressure on us,' she said. 'They can go out, enjoy the game as everyone expects us to win. We need to show them the respect they deserve and not take anything for granted. Hopefully, get the game plan right and then we can play our game.’
Having gone without a game last weekend, Reiten found time to reflect on the strong run of form we have put together, explaining how maintaining high standards has been crucial to creating a winning formula.
‘We have such a good squad. We talk about our standards, not just in games but everyday in everything we do. We keep pushing each other and we want to be at our best level every single time we step onto the pitch. It doesn’t matter if it’s in training or in a game. Ultimately, that’s what keeps pushing us in the right direction.
‘Our performances have been really calm, composed and controlled, a bit different to what I’m used to! Over the years, we’ve always found a way to win. This year, it’s a bit different and it’s nice. The team is in really good form and we want to keep building on that.’
Reiten has creativity in abundance and is regularly involved in exploiting dangerous positions, creating chances for her team mates to score. The Norwegian is not focused on statistics, motivated instead by the feeling that comes from winning matches.
‘I want to be as good as possible every time I step on the pitch. I enjoy my position on the left side, I’ve been getting really good balls into the box, I’ve just got to put them in the right place for the players inside our box. I don’t care about the assists or the goals as long as we keep winning. As an attacking player you want to contribute to goals and so far, so good!’
Our left-midfield maestro has got in on the scoring act too, netting from the spot against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in our last league outing. Reiten described the personal connection she has with the stadium and taking responsibility from the spot in front of the Matthew Harding Stand.
‘That was an unreal game, playing in front of so many fans. We’ve been waiting for that opportunity again because of Covid and with the Queen’s passing, the previous match got postponed. I played my first game for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge three years ago, that was the last time we played there.
‘You are a bit nervous, but it was funny with the penalty. I got told a few days before that I was number one penalty taker. I called my mum and said, "I’m going to get a penalty, I just hope it’s not last minute!" I was laughing after the penalty because I told everyone I was going to score and it happened, it was fun!’
On top of the goals and assists, Reiten reached an individual milestone when she made her 100th appearance for the Blues, celebrated ahead of kick-off against Real Madrid when she was presented with a framed shirt. This was a proud moment for Reiten who has plenty more to give.
‘Time flies, I feel like I haven’t been here that long, but it’s over three years. I have so many memories and moments here that I’m never going to forget. Chelsea is family now, it’s a great achievement to get 100 appearances. I’ve just got to continue and play some more, because I’m not done yet!’