Kelly Chambers Discuses Her Manager of the Month Award

Photos: @ReadingFCWomen

It was a difficult start to the season for Reading and their manager Kelly Chambers. They suffered four league defeats in a row at the hands of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton, conceding ten goals without reply.

However, November saw a change for fortunes for Kelly and the club, with wins coming against Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Brighton & Hove Albion. As well as a draw against West Ham United and a win in the Conti Cup against Crystal Palace. This run earned Kelly the Manager of the Month award.

During a break from preparing her side to face Emma Hayes’ mighty Chelsea, I was fortunate to have some time to speak with Kelly about her award and whether there was any point in time where she was worried about her position at the club. She told me, “I think I’ve got great support from the club. There was never a time where I was looking over my shoulder, thinking what could happen to me.

“I think it was at the end of that period [the four defeats] I had a meeting with the people upstairs and they understand the situation that we’re in at the minute in terms of obviously being hit by COVID and the linked financial issues. It’s not just the women, the whole club has been hit.

“I felt that we still had so much quality within the side and that’s why when we reached the November period, we were like, look, this is our time now and it has to be our time. If it’s not, then we can be fighting at the wrong end of the table and none of us in here wanted that.”

[blockquote text=”On winning the award, Kelly praised the impact of her coaching team supporting her. Tweeting, “This award is as much for them than it is me!“” show_quote_icon=”yes” text_color=”#dd3333″]

When asked to expand on her coaching team’s impact, Kelly explained, “I don’t think there would be one manager that would sit here and go, yeah, this is all about me, because it’s not. The work that these guys do behind the scenes in terms of watching the opposition, our analyst will prepare a whole presentation focusing on the last few games and presents it all to us. Then it’s a case of me and the coaching staff sitting down and going over what we need, what we’re going to do and how are we going to set up.”

Photos: @ReadingFCWomen

“When we went into the Aston Villa game, we took a massive risk, we changed our shape from how we’d been playing at the start of the season. We believed it was going to work and it’s something that we obviously had done our homework on. I obviously have to make the final decision, but I have to make a final decision based on education. And that’s what them guys provide for me,  education to be able to make informed decisions.”

Well, it did work, first-half strikes from Amalie Eikeland, Rachel Rowe and Natasha Dowie put the game out of reach for Carla Ward’s side.

This level of support was not previously available to Kelly when she first took over at the club. She explained, “When I first came into the club I was first-team manager, director football, physio, you name it, I was it. Now have a team of twelve or thirteen and it’s lovely. There is me, four other coaches, analysts and physios. So yeah. It’s completely different.”

Reading’s game against Chelsea is an 11:30 kick off at the Select Car Leasing Stadium. To see if Kelly can avoid the MOTM curse you can still get tickets here or you can watch all of the action live on Sky Sports.

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