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Monday, December 6, 2021

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Hayes wants Chelsea to be more ‘relentless’

Chelsea have drawn one and won one of their two group games in the Champions League so farChelsea manager Emma Hayes wants her team to be “more relentless” and take “pride” in keeping clean sheets as they prepare for Tuesday’s trip to Servette in the Women’s Champions League.

The Blues have kept clean sheets in their past two league games, but have conceded four goals in their two group games in the Champions League so far.

They are level on points in the table with German champions Wolfsburg.

Swiss side Servette are yet to score in the competition and have no points.

Hayes was pleased with the solidity her side showed in Saturday’s 1-0 Women’s Super League victory at Aston Villa.

“You have to have that pride to make it extremely difficult for the opponent to create much and I think we eradicated that [against Aston Villa,” said Hayes.

“What I want to see from the team when we get that first goal is to build on it and be more relentless instead of feeling like it takes the pressure off.

“When you’re in a game and it’s only 1-0, you leave the other team in it. I want to see the team persist in being a bit more relentless. It’s something we want to make more conscious.”

Centre-back Magdalena Eriksson said the squad have been working to try to avoid giving away “cheap goals” this season.

“It’s something we’ve talked about and focused on. We keep really high standards at the back and we know we’ve conceded too many cheap goals,” she added.

“Doing that consciously is really proving to pay off. That’s something we want to bring out – that this is the new standard for us.”

‘I feel a good energy’ – HayesChelsea were finalists in the Champions League for the first time last seasonChelsea, who sit three points off leaders Arsenal in the Women’s Super League table, are unbeaten in nine games having drawn with Wolfsburg and beaten Juventus earlier in European competition.

Hayes hopes rotation within the squad will keep Chelsea “hungry” and able to compete in multiple competitions throughout the season.

“The group is in a good space. I really feel a good energy across the team and I feel that’s being rewarded with the more minutes that everyone is getting,” she added.

“We will need everyone if we want to go far in the latter stages of the season. You don’t win anything now. You have to stay in it and keep everyone fresh and hungry.”

Hayes is expecting a full squad to be available in Switzerland – including forward Pernille Harder who missed the 1-0 win over Villa.

Summer signing Lauren James is continuing to build her fitness levels so is unlikely to feature.

“Everyone is here, everyone is ready. It’s so nice to see everyone is being used and everyone is equally as important,” said Eriksson.

“We know that we have to compete. We want to get to the end stage of every competition we play in and having a big squad is a massive part of that for us. It’s going to be so important in the long run.”

Dinner with the oppositionIt is the first time Swiss champions Servette, described by Hayes as a bit of an “unknown” side, will come up against English opposition.

“When you play an unknown you don’t really know [what to expect],” said Hayes. “What I’ve learned is to get your details right around your own performance.

“With regards to playing in a nice stadium with lots of fans… These are the nights that top players want to be in and our players will relish the opportunity as much as me and my staff will.

“I know our staff is going to dinner with their administrators tonight so I’m sure we’ll learn more about [Swiss football].

“What I’ve seen is that they’re very aggressive, very front-footed in what they are doing and although they haven’t scored in the competition, they have created chances. They are dangerous in wide areas. It’s a developing league which is behind the more established nations.”

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