Hayes on tight 1-0 win over Manchester United: We were calm, wise and experienced
Emma Hayes was delighted by her side's performance in their 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Kingsmeadow on Sunday, saying it was their calmness and experience which got them over the line.
She said: “The game played out exactly as I thought it would – it was tight, difficult to break them down, they were aggressive, and they made the pitch small.
“When you play these games after an international break, they are always tough.
"I thought they looked fresher than us, but they had two or three who were on international camps, we had 12. So you have to appreciate how hard it was to win that game when everyone has been flying all over the place - these players have to perform under an unbelievable schedule;
“ I thought it was gritty but we were calm, nobody panicked. Even if we weren't dominate.
“I think you have to appreciate now that games are going to be like this more often than not. I felt we used our wisdom and experience just at the clutch moment in the second half.”
That moment came seconds after Fran Kirby was brought on as a substitute. Within seconds she was bundled over in the United penalty area, and Maren Mjelde whipped home the spot kick.
“We fell into their game plan in the first 30 minutes,” said Hayes.
“We talked about that at half-time. It was certainly part of the plan for Fran (Kirby) to come into the game like that. And I'll say it again it's the plan to keep building and building her (from her knee injuries). You can see she is getting sharper so I'm really happy for her.
"The game was screaming out for her. Both of us, are committed to getting her to her best levels and I ask everyone to be patient about that as Fran is a special player.”