Karen Carney urges Chelsea to close in on FA WSL top spot

Monday 27 Jun 2016
Chelsea and England forward Karen Carney

Chelsea are desperate to hit the ground running when they resume after the mid-season break against Sunderland and Karen Carney insists the Blues have learned their lessons from the early weeks of the season. 

Emma Hayes’ team – who currently sit second in the FA Women’s Super League 1 table – finished off the first half of the league campaign with a 2-1 win over the Lady Black Cats. 

Sunderland v Chelsea

FA Women’s Super League 1
Hetton Centre 
7.30pm Wednesday 29 June

That ended a two-match losing streak for Chelsea which included the SSE Women’s FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal and a loss to fellow league high-flyers Manchester City.

The 2-1 win over Sunderland saw Chelsea come from behind and seal victory thanks to headers from Katie Chapman and Fran Kirby.

And, after over a month off, Chelsea must find their feet immediately if they are to close the gap to the table toppers – according to Carney.

“It’s nice to have a break as it can help you, but we’re really excited to get back into it now and we’ve got games pretty much every week for a while now which will be good for our consistency,” she said.

“There’s still a long way to go this season and we only lost a couple of games before the break, so no-one was too down about those.

“We still have three trophies to play for so we are really excited to get back again against Sunderland.

“They’ve got some top players in their ranks and we learned we cannot afford to switch off against them as we went behind the last time we played them.

“Beth Mead is obviously a key player for them, but they have a lot of quality and Stephanie Roche scored a great goal against us last time out to put them 1-0 up.

“We’ve got to put a good performance in up there otherwise they’ll punish us. We have to respect them, but ultimately we’ve been focusing on what we want to do during the time off and on the areas we could have improved upon from the first half of the season.”

“It’s never going to be easy against the champions but you can’t discount what Sunderland are about”

Lucy Staniforth Sunderland

Sunderland’s return to action after the mid-season break was not ideal to say the least as they slipped to a 5-1 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday.

After finishing an impressive fourth last year in their first season back in the top flight, Carlton Fairweather’s side are second bottom and without a league win so far in 2016.

But Lucy Staniforth insists they will take on Chelsea with absolutely no fear.

“We worked very hard the week before we played them last to nullify their strengths, and they can come at you from all areas of the pitch,” she said.

“Losing is never easy, but we did show some progression from how we had been playing, and hopefully we can take ourselves forward again in this game.

“It’s never going to be easy playing against the champions but you can’t discount what Sunderland are about.

“I think we switched off slightly after we scored against them. The goal that got them back into it came from a set-piece, which was disappointing, but it is another thing to learn from.

“We’ve showed that we can score goals against the best teams, so if we can do that and then tidy up the set pieces, I’d like to think we’ll be well in that game.”

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By FA Staff