BY PAUL LAGAN
Claire Rafferty celebrated 10 years at Chelsea with the midweek 4-1 win over Spurs, but has eyes firmly fixed on this evening’s WSL1 clash against Manchester City and she says it’s going to be a “feisty one with a match full of talent”
Rafferty, 28, was skipper for the night in the Continental Tyres Cup game against north London Spurs – the first tome the two clubs have played a competitive match against each other.
Left back Rafferty was not happy with the performance, but given all the other distractions surrounding her time at Chelsea, she was happy with the result.
She said: “I was a little bit nervous, obviously after 10 years and I had lots of family here, but it was a comfortable victory in the end.
“We have a massive game tonight against Manchester City, so we have reserved a little bit in the tank, but altogether it was a great result and we are in the next round of he cup.”
Chelsea face league leaders City at home at Kingsmeadow Stadium at 6.30pm
The first half was not a great performance and Rafferty agrees saying that a few choice words were spoken by boss Emma Hayes at half-time.
“We got a bollocking,” she confessed.
“I can’t swear, but that what we got. It’s quite hard sometimes to get motivated for a game when you have already qualified. That might have led to the poor first half.
“It was not good enough, we have high standards.
“But in the second half I think we picked it up a bit.”
As for tonight’s clash with City, it could go some way to deciding the destination of the league title, Chelsea are just behind City, who are top.
Rafferty said: “It’s quite hard not to think about the City game. In the past, they have been a bit of a mental game for us. We know we are as good as them, if not better. But it’s about putting that into practice and showing the strength of depth that we have in the squad.
“I am expecting a feisty game, a match of talent. They have some very good, experienced players, so it will be a tactical game and I hopefully that we prevail.
“Man City and Chelsea is always a crunch game, whoever wins that game will be sitting top of the league.”
Rafferty’s match in the midweek was not a testimonial as such. It was a competing fixture, so would she like a real one at the end of the season?
She’s not sure.
“You know what,” she said. “It’s not really heard of in the women’s football. I am very grateful for what Chelsea have put on here. There was a lot stuff behind the scenes, like family and friends which you guys probably won’t see, it’s very touching.
“I’m quite happy. I want to go on and win all the trophies, and at the end of the season, have a little party.”
She extended her contract until the end of the season, will she be extending it?
“I’ve not really had many thoughts about the future,” she admitted. “I’d like to carry on my time with Chelsea, carry on the journey.
“People are like putting the coffin on me, I’m only 28. Obviously I’ve had three anterior cruciate ligament operations, so probably not as long as many, maybe a couple more years, we will see.”
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