Emma Hayes was in jubilant and reflective mood as she basked in the glory of watching her charges come from behind and beat Arsenal 2-1 at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
Strikes from Beth England and a stunner from Maria Thorisdottir late on secured the three points that puts the Blues second in the WSL1 on the coat-tails of Manchester City.
Hayes said: “I have leaned a lot this weekend about the value of the whole.
When you have got a top group of players, picking 11 of them is really challenging, because there is world-class talent sitting on the bench.
“Managing that has become even more difficult. I think I’m a manager who does that quite well. But the realities are, to get into this Chelsea team everybody has to go up a notch.”
Hayes wasn’t too pleased with the first half.
“The players who started the game took a while to get in the game,” she said. “They were too passive.
“The last 15 minutes of the first half, we got a handle on the way they were playing out.
‘We had a great half-time collectively, we were calm, considered. I often ask them one thing ‘are you all in agreement?’ Because I hate a dressing room, when they say afterwords we should have done this or that. I believe in a collective approach.
"In the second half we were dominant. I’m so over the moon for Maria Thorisdottir and Ramona Bachmann. Them two deserve to be in the team, but so does everyone else. We pick 11. So when they trudged off from training extremely disappointed I said to (assistant manager) Paul Green that their training performances were outstanding.
‘It’s not about not deserving, it’s about what team you think is going to win a game.
“It’s not about proving your manager wrong, I don’t believe that, it’s proving your team-mates and manager right that you add great value. In return, I have to make sure that I keep reminding them of their importance and value.”
Of that second half transformation, Hayes was coy as to the reasons.
“I said we are going to have to be be more aggressive.
“I don’t want to say because the manager will read the comments and not do it again.
But I did something. I said we are either going to do it all together or not at all. Football is not complicated.
“I hate platitudes like ‘you have got to want it more than them’ but I felt that rung true. I told them we were the better team and that grew in the second half. Arsenal tired. They ran out of ideas but that was in due to the way we set up.”