Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has highlighted her side’s resilient defending as the main factor behind their FA Women’s Continental League Cup final victory.
The Blues defeated Arsenal 2-1 at The City Ground in Nottingham this evening in a game which The Gunners dominated for large parts.
Chelsea were thankful to their goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger for keeping them in the lead on several occasions while their defence had to soak up pressure as opponents Arsenal searched for a way back into the match following Beth England’s early goal.
Speaking to FA Women’s Super League Full-Time in the post-match press conference, Hayes hailed her side’s defensive qualities shown in the match.
“We are in good form” said Hayes. “I think that to win things, you must have all different kinds of performances.
“You can’t always be on top and be dominant.
“I value great defending and today, that was a real victory for a gritty, determined, persevered performance from the whole collective.”
Goalkeeper Berger pulled off four fine saves to deny Louise Quinn, Jordan Nobbs and Vivianne Miedema (twice) in what was a Player of the Match performance by the German and the value which she brought to the game was not overlooked by her manager.
Blues boss Hayes added “She was unbelievable, she really was.
“We always talk about attacking being the most dominant feature of a football match but why do we not talk about Chelsea deserving to win the game because of an outstanding goalkeeping performance?
“It is not often that we have to defend like that so to do it and still come through, I am really, really proud of my players.”
Hayes said that her side were expecting an onslaught from Arsenal ahead of the game and the fact that Chelsea managed the pressure made the victory all the more special.
“This is the third time that we have played Arsenal this season and the other two we were extremely dominant in” said Hayes.
“Nobody in our camp thought that this would be a dominant Chelsea performance.
“We knew that this would be a dominant Arsenal performance so to win the game knowing that they dominated, out-possessed us and out-footballed us for me, shows everyone what a great team we really are.”
Chelsea will return to action after the international break in the Women’s FA Cup when they take on Everton at Walton Hall Park in a quarter-final tie.