Chelsea captain fires warning to title rivals

Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson says the Blues are determined to stay beyond the reach of those Women’s Super League contending for the title.

The West London side have been the dominant force of women’s football in recent years, lifting six of the last eight WSL trophies.

Following a shock defeat to newly-promoted Liverpool on the opening day of the season, Emma Hayes’ side proved themselves in a test against the ‘best’ by bouncing back with a 2-0 win over ‘big three’ side Manchester City.

After three rounds of matches, the Blues are third in the rankings, trailing on goal difference Arsenal and Manchester United who each have a game in hand.

Leading a team that prizes itself on its winning mentality, Eriksson insisted that Chelsea will stop at nothing to stave off those teams threatening their title defence.

“I think that is the most exciting thing about this environment - we’re never settled, we’re never happy, we always want to reach new places,” Eriksson said.

“We’re confident but we’re also aware of the competition, and we’re working really hard every single day to stay ahead of them.”

With Blues boss Hayes currently out of action as she recovers from an emergency hysterectomy, Eriksson’s leadership will take on a new importance in the coming weeks as Chelsea begin their Champions League campaign alongside fighting at the top of the WSL table.

The Sweden international, who boasts more than 100 Chelsea appearances, has worn the armband at Kingsmeadow for three years among a side packed with a wealth of experience.

European Championship winner Millie Bright and Wales captain Sophie Ingle are both in the top ten for most WSL appearances of all time, while Ballon D’Or nominee Sam Kerr and former transfer fee record breaker Pernille Harder are considered two of the world’s best footballers.

Eriksson explained how she makes the most of the squad’s collective wisdom with her leadership style.

“For me, it’s about doing everything right so minimising the chance of not being successful,” Eriksson told the BBC.

“Whatever I demand of anyone else is what I demand of myself - I can’t demand anything of anyone else if I’m not doing it.

“In this team that we have, with so many good voices, so many experienced players, it’s about not thinking that I’m above anyone else, I want to hear all the inputs that we have from all the experience in the squad - so I want to empower people as well to be leaders.

“The responsibility that Emma gives me, and to feel her trust in that way is so important.

“Being the leader for all these amazing girls that we have in the team - it’s a true honour.”