Monday, October 3, 2022

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Hayes asks Chelsea champions for more ahead of WSL title defense

Emma Hayes wants Chelsea to improve further ahead of the start of their Women’s Super League title defence.

Chelsea were due to start their season against West Ham at Stamford Bridge last weekend but, with the opening day program postponed following the Queen’s death, the Blues will now kick off promoted Liverpool on Sunday .

“I just want to improve, I’m not focused on winning,” boss Hayes said in her pre-match press conference.

“I want to make sure the training is first class and that the starters I select perform at the levels we demand in this environment.”

Five internationals – Kadeisha Buchanan, Jelena Cankovic, Eve Perisset, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Katerina Svitkova – have arrived since last season when Chelsea completed a league and FA Cup double.

Hayes said: “It’s always nice to see the best players come into our league and every single one of them has settled in.

“It’s not a European league where you have to play maybe six games, these players have to play a minimum of 44 games.”

Liverpool won the FA Women’s Championship last season by an 11-point margin, and former Chelsea boss Matt Beard said his players were excited about the Prenton Park clash with the champions and the campaign coming.

Beard said, “We feel equipped…and we can compete in this division.

“I think the players we added strengthened the XI and the competition for places. It was something that was really important to do, especially with recruitment.

“Chelsea are a fantastic team. But we will prepare to try and get something out of the game, and I’m sure we can project a good image of ourselves.”

Manchester City, third last season, start at Aston Villa after a summer that saw a high player turnover.

Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze (both to Barcelona), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich) and Caroline Weir (Real Madrid) were high-profile departures for Europe, while Ellen White, Jill Scott and Karen Bardsley all took their retirement.

A new City squad includes Kerstin Casparij, Deyna Castellanos, Laia Aleixandri, Mary Fowler (Montpellier), Leila Ouahabi and goalkeeper Sandy MacIver.

Boss Gareth Taylor said: “I would ask the fans to be patient as I think we have really invested in the future of these players.

“I think there was naturally going to be quite a big turnover at some point when you look at the nature of the group that left.

“For the supporters, we are on the case. We really try to be the best version of ourselves.

Tottenham start their Leicester campaign keen to build on last season’s fifth-place finish.

Rehanne Skinner’s side missed hosting Manchester United at the club’s 62,850-seat stadium last weekend, but the Spurs boss hopes they return soon.

Skinner said: “Everyone can appreciate the schedule around it with the men’s games and the games being broadcast, it’s a logistical challenge, but the club’s intention is to get us into the stadium for as many games as possible. .”

West Ham welcome Everton to Dagenham with new boss Paul Konchesky having made 12 summer signings.

“I’m really looking forward to playing my first competitive game,” said Konchesky, who spent two seasons as a West Ham player and scored in the 2006 FA Cup final against Liverpool.

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