Ladies reaction: We’ll build on this
news Mon 26 Feb 2018
Although Chelsea Ladies came within four minutes of beating Manchester City in a thrilling game but ended up drawing 2-2, Anita Asante believes Saturday’s showing was another indicator of a growing team.
Wearing the captain's armband for the day in place of the absent Katie Chapman, Asante recorded an assist for Millie Bright's early goal, which was quickly followed by a fine effort from Ji So-Yun.
However, the home side came back in the second half to earn a draw which prevented them slipping four points behind the Blues at the top of the WSL1 standings, with Georgia Stanway's equaliser coming after we had missed several clear-cut opportunities.
Nonetheless, Asante felt there was plenty we could take from the game, which was both sides' final action before the international break.
'Of course we're disappointed,' said 32-year-old, who rejoined the club in January after nearly a decade away, most recently with Rosengard. 'We felt we played really well, particularly in the first half, and we created a lot of chances but weren't able to capitalise on them.
'They have a lot of quality and experience in their team, so it's always tough to come to Man City and get a result, but we're happy with a point and we're still top of the table.
'As a squad we feel we are getting stronger and stronger over time, and we're learning a lot. We'll build on this performance and hopefully get a little wiser, too.'
The manner in which we started the game, racing out of the blocks into a two-goal lead and generally dominating proceedings, was one of the most pleasing aspects of our display and Asante said getting at City early on was part of the game plan.
'We've been feeling quite confident and positive in our recent matches and we wanted to take that assertiveness into the match,' she said. 'We wanted to start on the front foot and put them under pressure from the off, and I think we managed to follow the game plan really well, especially in the first half.'
Now the players head off to their various national teams, including Asante after she was recalled to the England squad for the first time since 2015. The Lionesses are taking part in the SheBelieves Cup against France, Germany and USA.
'It's good to get away and get a different mental focus, put the work in there and hopefully do well with England,' she said. ‘Then we come back and go again.
'We would have liked to have got the three points, but we're still in the lead at the top of the table and we can hopefully capitalise on that when we get back from the international break.'
There will be a different pressure on the players upon their return, having spent much of the campaign chasing down City and the shoe is now on the other foot.
'We look to ourselves and how we can improve as a team. That's the only challenge for us, to keep improving our own performances,' she concluded.