06 October 2020

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes pleased with team’s bounce-back ability following Birmingham win

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has praised her team for responding to being knocked out of the FA Cup by winning against Birmingham at the weekend.

The reigning Women’s Super League champions were beaten 2-1 by Everton in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup seven days earlier, but showed determination to bounce back with a 1-0 victory on Sunday thanks to an early Fran Kirby strike.

Hayes is seeking a fourth WSL title with the club (PA)

And while Hayes’ side remain two points adrift of Arsenal and Everton at the top of the table, the Chelsea head coach continues to hail her team’s strength and resolve.

"Our team defending was what I had asked for. I asked for a clean sheet, I asked for a response and as a team collective I asked for them to make it difficult for the opponent," she told the club website.

"Yes, they had a chance late on but I thought that was the standout for us. It’s about getting three points and we got that. It was an all-round good performance and a good result most importantly.

"I felt we lacked width, I thought the longer the game went on that they were extremely narrow. I wanted to open the pitch up a little bit to try and stretch them a bit.

"But full credit to Birmingham, I thought they defended really well with full bodies behind the ball, they made it difficult for us, they stayed in the game and gave themselves a final chance. They have got a top manager so I’m not surprised.

"Three points matter and I focus on winning and we’ve won again. Getting that momentum shift from a defeat is critical, it’s not an easy place to come, I’ve lost here in my career so to take three points I’m over the moon."

Chelsea now look to their WSL Cup match against Arsenal on Wednesday before they face a huge test in the league on Sunday against Manchester City.

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