Manchester United victory ‘was our best performance of the season,’ says Chelsea’s Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes’ Chelsea recorded a stunning 3-1 victory over Manchester United on Sunday, as Lauren James netted an impressive hat-trick against her former club. The result came in front of 20,473 fans at Stamford Bridge, as the gulf between the two sides in the Barclays Women’s Super League table grows to a mammoth ten points.

Hayley Ladd did well to reduce the deficit for Manchester United before the break, but her efforts were in vain as Chelsea showed their grit in the second half to see out a result. With Sam Kerr sidelined for the remainder of the campaign after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury, a comprehensive victory would surely serve to fill Emma Hayes with confidence in her side’s ability to adapt and overcome.

Speaking to the media after the match, Hayes praised the work rate of her team, citing discussions that the team have had behind closed doors. ‘One of the things we’ve been talking about in the background is what is a Chelsea standard,’ she explained, ‘and what does that look like in and out of possession? I think we showed that today.’

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‘I thought today was our best performance of the season, it looked like the standards we set but also it was brave,’ she continued.

‘Today, playing a top team, you’re not going to be dominant over ninety minutes but generally speaking, I think we were by far the better team.’

‘Sometimes you have to sacrifice experience and you won’t really know how that’ll pan out until the end.’

‘Sometimes we were a little careless in the deeper spaces, a little over-confident but we hung in in the tough moments of the game.’

Asked about Lauren James’ hat-trick, Hayes explained that ‘I was impressed with her whole performance. She carried out the game plan and her role in that game plan to perfection… her finishing was second-to-none.’

Nathalie Björn registered an assist during Sunday’s match, which came as her full league debut after signing from Everton. Asked about how the defender has settled in the team, Hayes replied that ‘it’s a superb time for Nat to come to Chelsea… I’m just gutted she’s not available for the Champions League on Wednesday!’