Chelsea manager Emma Hayes remains confident but also calm heading into her side’s vital WSL fixture against Reading this Sunday.
The Royals are one of two sides to beat the Blues this season, making this fixture even more vital for Hayes’ side as they look to secure another league title.
When asked about the situation with the title race, Hayes said: “When you’re in this position, I’ve learnt that in order to win out the league you can’t lose more than two games, we can’t afford to lose anything in the position we’re in.”
This game also marks the return of a significant amount of fans to Kingsmeadow following the lifting of Chelsea’s ticket sale embargo in light of sanctions on Roman Abramovich.
Hayes was asked if the club expects a significant crowd for this game, responding with: “I hope so, I don’t know the current numbers but the fact that ticket sales are open means we can push hard to get as many as we can.”
On the topic of crowds, Hayes was asked about this week’s historic attendance between Barcelona and Real Madrid as well as the game itself, with her saying: “I only watched half of it, a bit of the second half, but the crowd were amazing!”
The Blues come into this fixture still riding high following their 9-0 thrashing of Leicester last weekend, but Hayes and her squad aren’t getting too excited about a potential similar outcome against Reading, proven when she said: “Everybody is sensible. Reading is a different opponent to Leicester and we have to be reminded that Reading have already beat us in the league.”
Hayes was also asked about the strong recent form of Beth England, with praise being given to the forward who was recently recalled into Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses side.
On this topic, Hayes said: “She’s training so well this side of Christmas. “Her application, her attitude and her contributions to the team have been outstanding.”
Team News: Chelsea come into the weekend with a mostly fit squad, but their two absences are the notable ones of Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder. When asked about the two missing forwards, Hayes said: “I don’t really have an update. They’re just not ready. “Will Pernille be available sooner than Fran? “I don’t know!”