How title-chasing Chelsea Ladies made a perfect start to the season

Chelsea Ladies have made a blistering start to the season, winning four out of four matches in the Women’s Super League to top the table and also progressing to the semi-finals of the Women’s FA Cup.

With two league games and an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City approaching, West London Sport spoke to manager Emma Hayes to reflect on the season so far.

A solid defence
“The most pleasing thing is that we have the best best goals-against record in the league so far. We have kept two clean sheets in three and only conceded two goals all season. That shows the progress the team have made. We wanted to be tougher to beat this season and we are.

“We have spent a lot of time working on set-pieces and put in a lot of work on the training pitch to get that right. Defences win titles.”

Full-time focus
“When you are only training twice a week it makes it very hard to work on things in between games but being full-time this year has made a big difference. You can do things in more detail and we have been doing that and are getting the rewards.

Gemma Davison started the season superbly for Emma Hayes' side
Gemma Davison started the season superbly for Hayes’ side

“We are finding ways to win, especially away from home. We have had results we wouldn’t have got last year, beating Notts County and Birmingham away, and the quality of football has been excellent too; we have scored some lovely goals.”

The best squad
“I believe we have the best squad in the league this season. We are more resolute and the new players are all winners; they want to achieve great things and are totally committed.

“We have an unhappy bench but we would rather have that problem. Sometimes players have to be patient. The new faces have all been contributing and every player will play an important role as we look to continue to build on that momentum.”

The World Cup factor
“With the World Cup coming up and the break not far off, it was probably even more important to start well this season. We have begun solidly and without injury, which helps a great deal.

“Other teams came in earlier than us but we left it a little bit longer. The thinking and methodology was to try not to get fatigued because we have a busy first part of the season – and we seem fit and fresh.”

Claire Rafferty could be among those involved in the World Cup
Claire Rafferty could be among those involved in the World Cup

Big games, big challenges
“It’s a huge game against Arsenal [on Thursday] and then another huge game against Manchester City [on Monday] in the FA Cup. There is not a lot of time to prepare but we have a good squad to cope with three games in nine days and we will be ready for both games.

“Everyone wants to play at Wembley and we are no different here. This club wants to compete for the best honours and I expect us to do just that.”

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