Chelsea Ladies driven by near miss

Manager Emma Hayes says the winning mentality of the new-look Chelsea Ladies squad and the anguish of narrowly missing out on last season’s title provides the perfect motivation for 2015.

Five new faces have arrived in the close-season as the Blues look to go one better than their second-placed Women’s Super League finish last time out.

Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl is joined by defender Niamh Fahey, the versatile Millie Bright, winger Gemma Davison and young striker Marija Banusic.

“All round we have a much stronger squad and I am really pleased with the recruiting efforts,” Hayes told West London Sport. “I have an unbelievable staff around me and the new players have settled in really well.

“Hedvig brings huge experience and great pedigree in a vital area, Niamh has great quality and the right mentality, Millie will have a wonderful career, Gemma has real creativity and Marija is a pure finisher. And having Claire Rafferty fit again feels like a new signing.

“It was about finding the right fits for Chelsea and it’s all about bringing a winning pedigree and culture.

“They are all very good players and very good trainers, suit the playing style, are comfortable with the ethos within the club and can manage the pressure and expectations.”

Hayes believes the combination of going full time, being part of a big club with such good facilities, and dealing with the expectations and “exposure” will help a great deal this term.

“It takes a special player and special person to play for Chelsea,” Hayes added. “They have to be comfortable with the pressure. If you are not, you are playing for the wrong team.

“We made great progress last season but we want to win things. I hope the pain stays until we lift a trophy. It should motivate and inspire us.”

Chelsea began their domestic season with a comprehensive 6-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup last weekend and they start the league campaign with a tricky away fixture against Notts County Ladies at Meadow Lane on Sunday.

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