Ladies reaction: Striving for perfection

Although she was disappointed at the concession of a last-minute goal, Emma Hayes praised the character of her Chelsea Ladies side after last night’s derby draw with Arsenal.

Having trailed to a first-half Jodie Taylor goal, the Blues fought back after the break through Millie Bright’s header and looked to have won it when Drew Spence struck in stoppage time. However, there was still time for one last twist as Jordan Nobbs’ speculative flick earned the Gunners a point with the last kick of the game.

‘It was a great derby game and we showed a lot of character second half to come from a goal behind,’ said Hayes.

‘But I felt we could have managed the game better in the last minute or so, to see the game out. It's something we've got to learn from.

‘We're still learning and developing. For some of our players, this was the first time they’ve come up against this type of opponent and a London derby atmosphere, so it was a learning experience – and that's what the Spring Series is about for us.

‘This time last year we'd have definitely lost that game, but it feels like a loss. To score in injury time and then concede with the last kick of the game demonstrates we still have things to learn and to work on in training.’

One of the big positives for Hayes was the impact her substitutions had on the game.

Spence made yet another telling contribution this season after being called upon at half-time and then Gemma Davison brought a directness to the Blues attack which gave us another dimension in the attacking third.

‘We made changes, all the subs that came in improved us and I'm happy to see Drew score again,’ she said.

‘Drew is getting a goal a game and she's showing the right fight and determination. She's getting in good areas. I'm happy with that. She's got the confidence and belief to keep doing it. If she keeps working hard on the training pitch, like I ask of all of them, she'll keep getting the rewards like she did in this game.

‘It was also an outstanding performance by Deanna Cooper, she was excellent.’

Chelsea’s only defeat this season came via a penalty shoot-out in the Women’s FA Cup semi-final against Birmingham, which means they remain unbeaten in normal time, but that is of scant consolation to Hayes.

‘I'm a perfectionist – I want everything to be the way I want it to be, and if it's not then I'm not going to pretend I'm happy,’ she said. ‘But I am proud of the character. At half-time, we had a very honest conversation and I asked for a response, which I got.

‘I'm firmly fixed on winning every game [not just the Spring Series] I play at Chelsea. To draw a derby game is something I'm never going to be happy with. But we'll come back determined on Sunday at Sunderland, we'll move on quickly. We've got a good spirit here.’
 

HIGHLIGHTS: Arsenal (H) WSL 2017