Ladies reaction: Deserved winners

Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes felt the adjustments made at half-time enabled us to go on and record a crucial victory over Montpellier in the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final.

Second-half goals from Ji So-Yun and Erin Cuthbert – her first in the competition – ensured the Blues go into next week’s return leg at Kingsmeadow in a strong position as we aim to progress to the last four for the very first time.

It was a much-improved Chelsea performance after the break last night, and as she reflected on the performance Hayes spoke about why the positive turnaround occurred.

‘I thought Montpellier started the game very well in the first 20 minutes,’ said Hayes. ‘We turned the ball over a lot and played too quickly away from home, it took us a while to settle down and thankfully we didn’t concede a goal in that period.

‘We had some good opportunities in the first half but I felt the game lacked balance and control on our part.

‘In the second half we made some adjustments to improve what we were doing and we started the stronger of the two teams. We had a great opportunity, which we scored from, and then we hit the post through Bachmann and had another good chance.

‘We expected Montpellier to attack but I think we finished the game as deserved winners, 2-0 is a good scoreline but it’s only half-time.’

The Chelsea Ladies manager felt her attacking players exploited the open spaces, particularly down the right-hand side, very well, and having spoken on the eve of the game about the importance of keeping a clean sheet, she praised our defensive display.

‘Our priority is always a clean sheet, that’s the starting point,’ she said. ‘I always said we were coming up against one of the best attacking teams in Europe.

‘They had Stina Blackstenius on the bench and ready to come on, they have good height, they’re strong in wide areas and they can get in behind, so to keep a clean sheet against them shows how far we’ve come.

‘We have lot of experience through the spine of our team with Hedvig Lindahl in goal, Maren Mjelde and Katie Chapman right down the middle and that showed in the key moments of the game.’