• By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Hayes on 2-1 defeat to Brighton: It was a missed opportunity, it was not catastrophic


By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Emma Hayes while disappointed and probably privately angry with individual players, tried to project a pragmatic image to the 2-1 defeat to Brighton at home, that ended their unbeaten 33 league game run.

The Blues remain top of the league but a win would have given them greater breathing space to the chasing pack.

She opted to rest first choice players Ann-Karin Berger and Millie Bright while benching Fran Kirby, Ji and Pernille Harder.

It was a decision that backfired as it gave Brighton a boost while heaping pressure on the players brought in to prove themselves.

Hayes said: “I’m disappointed to lose. The Man Utd defeat and our result show that if you are not on it, you can be turned over, and previous results are irreverent. But our intensity and aggression was poor.

‘You have to work for spaces, for chances, to regain the ball. We did not to that very well.

We gave away two extremely poor set pieces which we haven’t done in my whole time here. They had three shots and two goals, we had 30 shots and one one.

“They brought the right aggression, so well done to Brighton and Hope Powell.”


Former England boss Powell was naturally delighted by the result and when asked if Hayes’s decision to drop key players fell into her side’s hand, she said: “Chelsea have a squad of players who are internationals.

“They are a talented side. It was more about what we are going to do.

“But when I saw their team, I did say, it gives us a chance, a better chance than we thought we would have had. I’m not sure they were being disrespectful, their players are top drawer. I guess you think there’s enough about them that they should beat Brighton. but the league is a bit unpredictable and there’s no God-given right. Everybody thought we would beat Bristol last week and they beat us 3-0.

“I told the players that we must not get beaten.

“It demonstrated the respect they were showing us when they brought on the likes of Ji, Kirby and Harder. Jokingly I did ask Emma at half-time if she was making any substitutions.

“I’m really pleased that we contained these players, I’m knackered but pleased.”

Of her selection, Hayes said: “I’m the manager, if the team lose. I take responsibility for the loss.

“I can’t play the same players all the time and expect them to be top fresh. Changes break momentum without a doubt. Those players that were given opportunities today, they will be massively disappointed.

“The time is not right to pull apart that decision. That means that I separate the dressing room. As a team it wasn’t good enough. And everyone knows that.

“We have to be calm and put in place things to rectify that.

“The subs came in and offered what we needed. We have had a lot of winning days, we lost but it’s not the end of the world.

‘If we had taken care of details, then we would not have hit the bar, or had the ball cleared off the line.

“I’m proud of the (unbeaten) record, but you have to lose at some point but we need to bounce back quickly. It was a missed opportunity. But the response is the important thing. It’s not catastrophic.

“I need to remind people we are still in a good place, top of the league and in the Conti Cup final. It’s important to be positive - we are human beings, losses happen.”

Hayes now has to get her players up for the tough London derby against Arsenal, in the league on Wednesday, something she’s fully aware of.

She said: The Arsenal game will be tough, they are even games with a lot of pride at stake. I know the performance I want and I will demand that from the team.

“I talk about character and resilience, and now we have the chance to see that.”


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