Carla Ward: ‘I have absolutely no doubt that Chelsea will react’ after FA Cup exit

Aston Villa will return to Barclays Women’s Super League action on Wednesday, as they travel to face Chelsea at Kingsmeadow. The Blues have fallen to consecutive defeats and suffered elimination from two cup competitions as a result, but speaking ahead of their trip to the capital, Aston Villa boss Carla Ward suggested that ‘a wounded animal is a dangerous animal.’

‘It’s as clear as that,’ Ward continued. ‘Emma [Hayes] and her team are mentality monsters, we know that. They’re hurting and you don’t ever want to play a team that’s hurting. Especially a Chelsea team, champions, that are hurting. They will want to react and I have absolutely no doubt they will react. They’re world class, they’ve got a world class manager and they’ll want to stay on track in their attempt to win the league.’

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Aston Villa have been struck by a plethora of injuries throughout the season, but Ward expressed that Kirsty Hanson will return to the matchday squad after spending the last week ‘back in training for a week which has been good. She’s been out for a period so we need to get her up to speed. It’s good to have another attacking option in and around it.’

Ward was also asked to speak on Rachel Daly’s recently-announced retirement from international football, after a storied career that sees her bow out as one of England’s greatest. ‘We’ve spoken about it [international retirement] for a period of time now, and I knew going into the most recent camp that it would be her last,’ she told reporters.

‘She’s picked her moment and it’s the right moment for her. She’ll go down as an England legend. Anyone that wins the Euros you could say the same for. She’s certainly left a legacy and she’s inspired a generation. She’s not finished yet. She wants to continue to inspire on and off the pitch. We have a wonderful human being in this building now and her full focus will be on Aston Villa.’