Hayes: We broke the curse beating City

Emma Hayes likes to keep things cool, under control, but she was ecstatic with her side’s WSL1 victory over title rivals Manchester City on Sunday, writes Paul Lagan.

Strikes by Beth England and Maren Mjelde were enough to turn around a 1-0 deficit that keeps the west Londoners second in the league, a point
behind Arsenal, with a game in hand.

It was Chelsea’s first league victory over City since 2014.

“This is a team that stays ice cool and that was the big difference in this game compared to against City in the past,” she said.

“It’s like a chess match when you play against Manchester City, we had to be patient, we conceded off a poor error.

“It’s about momentum and the momentum, even a goal down, was always with us. We conceded against the run of play, we conceded with probably their only shot on goal, so their best player was their goalkeeper.

Fran Kirby

“Defensively we were exceptional, we made it difficult for them to dominate the areas they wanted to dominate. It was a gutsy performance from the team.”

It was the Blues’ 10th win in a row in all competitions. Asked what’s the difference between the side now and last season, she said: “It’s not over after the first five games, that’s the difference.

“If you look at our form from October last year, we were solid but we were out of the title and the only difference is we’re in it now. We’re in the title race.
“For us just breaking that curse of beating City is the milestone for now and we’re going to reflect on that.”

Hayes also provided an update on the absence of forward Fran Kirby, and said: “She has a really bad virus and we had hoped she started training this week but she just wasn’t well enough.

“It set her back purely because her chest is having to manage this cold weather on the back of a virus.

“She started training but was not right, so we’ve taken the decision to just let her heal and she won’t play this side of Christmas.”

Chelsea faced Reading last night in the Continental Tyres Cup and travel up to Prenton Park on Sunday where they face Liverpool in the WSL1.

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