Ladies reaction: Goals and gameplans
news Fri 13 Oct 2017
Fran Kirby spoke about the squad’s determination and tactical flexibility after she had netted one of the most important goals in Chelsea Ladies’ history.
It was the England striker who put us 1-0 up on the night, and 2-0 ahead on aggregate, against Bayern Munich. The Germans turned the game around but not the tie, and so Kirby’s pivotal away goal proved the difference over two fiercely-contested Champions League round of 32 legs.
Not only that but it was a quite stunning effort which started with a run from inside her own half and finished with her guiding the ball into the top corner.
‘I was a bit nervous going through one v one,’ Kirby admitted.
‘I think every striker will tell you when you have too much time it’s the most difficult one, but the goalie came rushing off her line which kind of made the decision for me. Luckily it went in the back of the net and we could have a little bit of a breather.’
The Blues had needed to show allour defensive strength up to that point in the tie, and plenty more was required after Bayern’s two goals which arrived in quick succession. It made for a nerve-racking conclusion in Bavaria with Kirby watching on from the bench after she had been substituted.
‘It was absolutely incredible. We showed the resilience we have. We were under the kosh for the last 20 minutes but seeing the game out, getting the away goal – it was a really special night for all of us.
‘We had a few injuries going down and a few things that weren’t going our way, obviously them getting the two goals. It was absolutely terrifying. I was biting my nails on the sideline!
‘But the group put in a real shift. We knew we had to see the game out and work as hard as we possibly could and everyone did that.’
Kirby thinks those qualities will continue to stand us in good stead in Europe, and the 24-year-old also explained the differences between domestic and continental football.
‘We know how hard it is in Europe, it’s completely different to playing in WSL. You know you are going to have your backs against the wall and you have to grind out a result. That’s what we did.
‘WSL is different. We have the ball all the time, we are able to play the way we want to play. It shows the character we have in the team that we are willing to do both jobs. We are looking to get on the ball and play, but we also will do the hard dirty work and try and get a foot in wherever we can.
‘The staff behind the scenes have worked extremely hard to think up a gameplan to play against Bayern and it worked,’ added Kirby.
‘As long as we get our tactics right and we know how to play against each team, hopefully we can continue doing that in the competition.’
The draw for the Women's Champions League round of 16 takes place on Monday at 12.30pm (UK time) and we will provide details of it on this website and on Twitter @chelsealfc