Bethany England was on song for Chelsea in the Continental Cup final against Arsenal. Her brace saw Emma Hayes’ side edge out their London rivals in a thrilling 2-1 win.
Despite their gritty display, Hayes didn’t think Chelsea were the better side on the day. In a post-match interview, Hayes admitted Arsenal had the better performance, but the Blues were more resilient.
“I value great defending and today that was a real victory for a gritty, determined, persevered performance from the whole collective,” said the 43-year-old.
“I talked earlier on in the season about this team not being clinical enough. But we’re clinical now.”
Ann-Katrin Berger pulled off a superb performance between the sticks for the visitors, denying chances from a goal-hungry Vivianne Miedema on several occasions.Embed from Getty Images
“She was unbelievable,” Hayes said when asked about Berger. The German international joined Chelsea at the beginning of 2019. She enjoys the first piece of silverware she has won with the London club.
“It makes us hungrier”
With the Continental Cup heading to Kingsmeadow, Chelsea now re-focus on the Women’s Super League. The Blues are currently second in the table, with a game in-hand over leaders Manchester City.
A win this season for Chelsea will be their third league title, the previous two coming in 2015 and 2017. Their Conti Cup success will certainly have put the Blues in a winning mindset.
Australian superstar Sam Kerr relished in her side’s domestic victory, stating it was no secret that she “joined Chelsea to win trophies”.
“It makes us hungrier,” Kerr reflected on the Continental Cup victory. “This is one of three boxes ticked this year.”
The Matilda star was full of praise for her strike partner Beth England. “She’s worked hard,” Kerr said. “She’s been unbelievable.
“[Beth is] a good teammate and she does a lot of work off the ball that a lot of people don’t see.”
England’s brace in the Cup final now marks her 21st goal of the season across all competitions.Embed from Getty Images
“Confidence was something that I really did battle with,” admitted the 25-year-old. “I’ve had a lot of help to try and boost that and thankfully I’m now in a position where I’m more mature physically and mentally and I’m used to the game and how it’s always changing.
“I’m thankful to be at this club and to play for the team.”
“Everyone enjoys being in our culture”
“Today, this stadium was blue. It felt like a home game today for us,” smiled Hayes in her post-match presser.
“It [travelling fans] shows you the growth of the game. People are coming out in their droves in cold conditions to support two of the best teams in the country, if not Europe.”
The City Ground set a new Conti Cup final record after announcing the 6,743 fans in attendance.Embed from Getty Images
Hayes reflected on her side’s win in Nottingham, setting a new club milestone as they lifted the Contintental Cup for the first time.
“Behind every great boss is a great team and I’ve got unbelievable people behind me that make me look fantastic. The team I’ve brought in this year – I’m so blessed with them.”
This August will mark Hayes’ eighth year at the hilt of Chelsea Women. In that time she has established herself as one of the most recognised managers in the sport.
“Standards matter,” replied Hayes when Her Football Hub asked if she was currently leading her strongest ever Chelsea side. “Everyone enjoys being in our culture because we value standards.”
Nobbs injury comeback
As a result of suffering an ACL injury last year, Jordan Nobbs was forced out of the 2019 World Cup squad. She painstakingly watched the Lionesses travel to France without her.
Now she’s back to full fitness, leading her side out against rivals Chelsea in a fierce cup final,
“I felt today I was back to my best if I’m honest,” said the skipper. “People don’t realise how hard it is and how long it actually takes you to be back fit.
“I’ve still got a little way to go but I felt like I had an impact on the game and I want to be winning games for this club and there’s always things to work on.”Embed from Getty Images
Her Football Hub asked Nobbs if she felt she was ready to be a part of the 2021 Euros. “I think I’ve got time to keep pushing [for a place in the Euros] and be a top player.
“This injury definitely takes time but I’ve battled through it and I’ve had no set-backs since so I feel strong and want to keep gaining momentum and consistency in games.”