Chelsea boss says team will respond to disappointing defeat and makes ‘champions’ claim

Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes refused to be downhearted about her side’s disappointing defeat at Manchester City and revealed why “they are all champions” despite the 2-0 loss.
Chelsea were not at the races as they lost 2-0 to Manchester City in the WSL.Chelsea were not at the races as they lost 2-0 to Manchester City in the WSL.
Chelsea were not at the races as they lost 2-0 to Manchester City in the WSL.

The Women’s Super League champions slipped to third after a poor display at the Academy Stadium saw them lose 2-0 to Manchester City following two superb first half strikes from Filippa Angeldahl and Lauren Hemp.

Sunday’s loss meant Hayes’ side tasted defeat in the WSL for the first time since the opening day of the campaign but the Blues head coach refused to be hard on her players and revealed her thoughts on why she felt her side lost the game.

“I thought we were so sluggish first half, it was our third away game in a week and I thought it looked like it and was the difference in the two teams first half - but well done City” said Hayes.

“I think the team will be ready for the week and the important thing is we move on as quickly as possible. I don’t think people really realise how tough it is to come here, our third away game in seven days after one of them being against Lyon. The league is so much better, City away isn’t an easy game with freshness.

“Honestly, I’m not going to dig my girls out, we had a really honest conversation at half time in terms of no matter the result, this is what we want to leave the pitch with - and I can honestly say every single of them did that.

“We talk about goals or result but in terms of process and what they delivered for the second half, I’m going to focus on those things in preparation for Thursday and not the things that happened in the first half” she revealed.

Eyebrows were raised when the Chelsea boss made an early double substitution, removing both Lauren James and Sophie Ingle after just 35 minutes, but Hayes refused to criticise either and gave her reasons for the change.

“The game was very difficult. Your mind can want to do a million things but if your legs can’t that’s the challenge and sometimes you stimulate a response, particularly from a losing position. Managers can sometimes be criticised if you’re 2-0 down and don’t do much, I think it helps a little bit to bring freshness into the wide spaces.

“This team has delivered so many times but we are human beings. I thought we gifted City goals today, I think my job is now to really get the team recovered as quick as possible. I’m not frustrated with them, they’re humans and people want to try but we just weren’t at our best. On and off the ball, we just didn’t move the way we do and that happens sometimes. I’m definitely not frustrated with them.

“Today is on me.

“I know how they’ll feel so I’ll take this one today and I want them to do what they do so well in terms of how they look after each other and the way that they recognise what it takes to go again. It’s the reason I love them all as human beings first and foremost because I know exactly how this team will respond to what each and everyone of them would describe as disappointing. No matter the result, they’re champions in my heart”.