Hayes praises ‘display of courage’ after Blues’ vital win at Spurs following Berger’s red card

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EMMA HAYES hailed ten-player Chelsea for battling their way out of a crisis after they overcame a first-half setback against Tottenham.

Strikes from Sam Kerr and Guro Reiten contributed to three vital points and a 3-1 Blues win despite Ann-Katrin Berger’s sending off.

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Guro Reiten equalised for Chelsea against Tottenham with a wonder goal in the first halfCredit: Reuters
Sam Kerr gave the Blues a 2-1 lead in the second spell

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Sam Kerr gave the Blues a 2-1 lead in the second spellCredit: PA

Just as it looked as if Spurs were ironically on course to give a title-chasing advantage to Arsenal, Kerr struck with a goal that demonstrated precisely why Emma Hayes signed her.

The gritty victory saw the Gunners denied an opportunity to leapfrog Hayes’ battling Blues in one of the most exciting title races in WSL history.

The Kingsmeadow chief said: “In a crisis I think my team do really well.

“There were rarely times in the last few years where we go under in a crisis. 

“I think that was an amazing display of courage, confidence, conviction, togetherness, camaraderie, all the things you cannot understate.

“It was a game-changer in terms of we went down to 10, but it was also a game-changer because we actually improved the moment we went to down 10 players.

“We had the calmest dressing room in the world at half-time. This was a victory for all the work we do behind the scenes.”

When asked if Chelsea’s resilience was the difference between her side and Arsenal, Hayes added: “This team has something that’s been cultivated over a long period of time.

“I told them only the top teams have scored one goal (at Tottenham). It’s a really tough place to come and we’ve done a great job”

A loss for the leaders at The Hive would have seen Arsenal return to the summit following their 3-0 evening defeat of Everton.

Prior to that game, Hayes added: “I’m wise and old relatively to managing in this league.

“I know that at 35 minutes (when Tottenham went 1-0 up) everyone was putting the champagne out for the other team in North London.

“We’ve gone from ‘oh my god they’re losing, to ‘Jesus it’s going to go down to the wire’.

“But it was always going to the wire. We can’t lose a game.”

Tottenham took an early lead after Molly Bartrip's corner kick led to a Chelsea own goal

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Tottenham took an early lead after Molly Bartrip’s corner kick led to a Chelsea own goalCredit: Getty

Tottenham had a decent start early on.

After Kerr tested Tinja-Riikka Korpela with a 12th-minute shot, the hosts took an early lead through an own goal.

This came through Molly Bartrip’s corner hitting the post and before whizzing past So-Hyun Cho before bouncing off Sophie Ingle into the net.

And the hosts looked for a penalty just over ten minutes later following Niamh Charles challenging Rachel Williams in the box in the duo colliding with Millie Bright.

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After the trio were checked for concussion, Tottenham looked to put more pressure on the visitors with Kyah Simons sending a ball forward for Jessica Naz.

Chelsea pushed for a leveller with Bright heading wide near the half-hour mark.

They eventually got one with Guro Reiten walloping in a stunning cross-shot from the left around the 25th minute

But the Blues saw their numbers reduced eight minutes later with Berger sent off for a bodycheck on Rachel Williams who appeared to be through on goal.

The red card saw Beth England taken off with keeper Zecira Musovic coming on to replace Berger.

Ann-Katrin was sent off following a challenge on Rachel Williams

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Ann-Katrin was sent off following a challenge on Rachel WilliamsCredit: Alamy

And the Sweden stopper pulled off a stunning 55th minute save, parrying Kerys Harrop’s curling cross out of danger.

The second spell saw Hayes bring Magda Eriksson and Pernille Harder on for Aniek Nouwen and Ji So-yun.

And Jonna Andersson entered the fray in the 70th minute, making an instant impact teeing up Kerr’s goal to give Chelsea a 2-1 lead.

Later on, Jessie Fleming came on for Reiten with Chelsea looking to see out the win.

The Canada forward made sure the points were in the bag smashing a long-range effort into the top corner.

Rehanne Skinner hopes her side will be more clinical in the final third when they play Chelsea again on Thursday

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Rehanne Skinner hopes her side will be more clinical in the final third when they play Chelsea again on ThursdayCredit: Getty

The result saw Tottenham denied the chance of their first point from a London derby with the Blues making it four wins from four in the WSL against their rivals.

Spurs chief Rehanne Skinner said: It’s a learning curve for us.”

“I’m disappointed because I do think we’ve dropped points. We got ourselves into a great position to get points out of the game.

“We want to make sure we finish higher than last year and are consistently.”





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