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  • By Paul Lagan

Hayes: The demands are growing, they are paid to score goals

Emma Hayes Photo by Paul Lagan

Emma Hayes is as pragmatric as ever and the 4-0 WSL 1 win over Bristol City on Sunday was just the tonic she needed after the previous WSL1 match against Brighton which ended in a draw.

The Blues are on the coat-tails of Arsenal and Manchester City, and following the international break, Chelsea will face league leaders Arsenal at Kingsmeadow in a must-win top of the table clash.

After watching Guro Reiten notch a brace and strikes from Ji So-Yun and Sophie Ingle comfortably dispatch the Robins, Hayes said: “The result is not relief, it is what we do at Chelsea, it’s what’s expected. The demands will grow on the players, they are paid to score goals.”

Hayes revealed her coaching methods that saw the Blues get off to a flyer - the opening goal came from Reiten after three minutes.

She said: “I’m not a reactive coach, I always believe in a process and our methods has been clear over a number of years I have been here. We compete for trophies.

“I think it’s fair to say it’s only the third week I’ve had my group together. When you are going through pre-season and don’t have the whole team together throughout that period, it means it will take a bit of time, and you can see that in Erin Cuthbert and Fran Kirby coming back. Players are still finding their best form.

“I have to say, I have been very pleased with the way the players have been training this week. They have been at a higher level again.”

Last season then Blues drew games early on and the title was lost by November, Hayes reckons it’s a new start. “It’s this season, we haven’t lost a game, we dropped two points (at Brighton) but there is a long way to go in this title challenge. We are in it. I know we are not favourites, but I know the quality I have in the dressing room.

“I expect we will improve on this performance and be ready for Arsenal.”

Reiten was a two-goal heroine and Hayes is not surprised. “She is a top talent, a consistent performer. Again we have to be patient with her, she is still adapting to English football,” she said.

“I like the way she was aggressive in the opposition penalty’s box. I think we have lacked that aggression, and the way we started the front four in particular were picking up first and second balls they were keen to shoot, all the things We encourage in our environment - keeping to the game plan very well. Fran Kirby is being nursed to full fitness and is getting more minutes on the pitch."

When asked if she should go off on England duty to play in friendlies – Hayes said: “She is fit to go with England. Phil (Neville) and I have good communication about it.

“You just need to manage (her situation). There are always expectations for her to do a lot.

“But she missed a large chunk of pre-season when she took a knock in Israel.

“She is just back and I think we need to support one of the top players in England back to her best but we have to do it progressively.

“I know the international breaks are there – she is fit to play and it’s up to Phil how much game time he gives her.”

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