Chelsea women’s head coach Emma Hayes insists there is a need for Chelsea women to find other means of beating opponents in order to build on their remarkable run in the last campaign.
The Blues captured the domestic double last season in a truly stunning effort as they won the FA Cup and their second WSL title by going unbeaten in the league, while also making a deep run into the semifinal of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. After completing their set of pre-season games with a 3-0 route of Juventus, the club former Blues player Eni Aluko moved to earlier in the summer, Chelsea will be hoping to begin their season with a positive note in their Continental Cup match against Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend.
Despite the impressive scoreline against the Italians, Hayes said allowing her players time on the pitch bore more significance especially as she implemented an experimental back four in the game, an immense departure from a back three which she utilised religiously in the previous campaign.
“It’s a plan – and we need a few of them if we’re going to adapt and find different ways of winning,” said Hayes. The 41-year-old Camden native also stressed the importance of introducing fresh tweaks to their gameplan in order to reinvigorate the desire of her squad to win. “Every one of us needs to find a freshness to what we’re doing and to keep developing new approaches to beat the opposition. That’s just part of it.”
“Some teams will have already played a settled side by now. For me, that’s not important and I didn’t do it last pre-season either, and it did us no harm,” added Hayes, who returned to coaching the side just months after giving birth. It is hoped that as her players gain more experience in a particular system, it would result in an established setup that will be tested in the training ground before being unleashed in the season’s curtain-raiser on Sunday.
“I’m not somebody who panics with taking risks. If pre-season was about winning games, I wouldn’t experiment. For me, exposing the players to system development, to get them the right minutes – that’s the starting point. From here, we’ll start to find a little bit more of a settled team when we play an in-squad game and then get ready for the Continental Cup.”