Magdalena Eriksson insists the fresh tweaks recently introduced by Emma Hayes to the playing style of Chelsea Women will be vital for the 2018-2019 season.

Eriksson, who arrived from Swedish club Linkopings last summer, has recently committed her long-term future with the Blues after signing a new deal lasting until 2021. Even when it was just her debut season at West London, she quickly became a mainstay at the Blues defence, with her aggressive style of defending a perfect fit in England and one that allowed her to settle in quickly.

Quizzed when the WSL was more physical than it was in her native country, Eriksson said: “Yeah, it is more, like, man-to-man physical, forward thinking. It’s a type of football I’ve always liked and it’s the type of player I was in Sweden, which always made me a bit unique there, in that I liked to take the physical duels, but here I’m just normal because that’s how everyone is!

“So I think that made it easier for me to adapt, because I like that playing style. It’s more of an international playing style, so I feel I’ve developed that side of my play.”

Chelsea Women, who captured the Double in a stunning campaign last season, will be hoping to further extend their dominance with head coach Hayes keen on finding other ways of winning for her side. In pre-season, the 41-year-old shifted her back three into an experimental back four. Eriksson, a stalwart in the starting lineup as the left-sided centre-back last season, is directly affected by that change.

Embed from Getty Images

Yet the 24-year-old insists she and her teammates are taking to these tweaks by their manager nicely. “I think we’ve adapted to it really well,” added Eriksson. “We changed to it against Barcelona with three days’ preparation and I felt we played really well against a top team in Europe. We did a really good game and performance with it against Juventus as well.”

The fullback, whose wand of a left foot proved vital for Chelsea’s set pieces in the previous campaign, believes the added element of unpredictability will be helpful for the Blues in retaining their title and possibly go one step further in Europe. “I think that proves we’re going to be hard to analyse, as the opposition knows we can line up with a back three or back four depending on who we are playing against and what the staff wants,” Eriksson said.

“It’s going to be a big strength. Now we know have so many different options for how we can play, and we also have a Plan B and C if we start a game badly. I like that. We built something last year, but instead of getting stuck in our ways we have spiced it up a bit.”