EMMA HAYES says “bumps in the road” are to be expected after Chelsea shared the spoils of a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid.
Christmas seemed to have come early for the Spanish side in the Champions League group stage after Caroline Weir pounced on a clearance error.
But Guro Reit’s penalty ensured Hayes’ aces continued their unbeaten run in the group stage ahead of their WSL clash with Reading this Sunday.
Prior to their visit to Madrid, Chelsea were in clinical winning form in Europe, keeping six clean sheets in their last seven European games.
They conceded for the first time in Group A in their clash at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, having beaten their opponent 2-0 at home last time out.
Hayes said: “Technically, I’ve never seen us give the ball away so cheaply. All parts of our possession had problems.
“We will work on that. We played really well so we’re disappointed.
“It’s the first time we’ve conceded such a weak goal in a long time.
“Thanks to the team for the way they reacted. Everyone raised their level.”
Chelsea have picked up ten points in the four group games they have played with the current leaders.
Most read in the Champions League
On qualifying for the knockout stage that remains in their hands, Hayes added: “We’re in a good place and we know this is a tough group.
“We have to respect that we’re coming to Madrid, we’re a long way from home and it’s a big place.
“They are an improving side, having drawn Paris Saint-Germain and beating Manchester City, and we have to give them respect.
“I thought it was a good game and probably a draw was a fair result.”
The Blues almost came to the net in the first five minutes when Sam Kerr cracked the bar from a riding corner and later hit the post.
But Weir ensured the hosts took the lead against their old WSL opponents in the first half as the Spaniards began to put pressure on their opponents.
Ann-Katrin Berger’s clearance paved the way for the striker to smash the ball home in the 36th minute and bag her first goal against the Blues in a Madrid shirt.
But Ivana Andres’ clumsy argument while riding ensured that the guests were able to equalize with a penalty in the second third
And they did so after Madrid goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez scored an own goal after shoving Reit’s free-kick off the post and into the net.
At the other end, Berger made a stylish stop from close range in the 79th minute to deny Olga Carmona a goal before Weir sent a long-range shot over the bar.
And Rodriguez pulled off a stunning stop as he parried Kerr’s shot from inside the danger zone, with both sides sharing the spoils.
In Thursday night’s draw, Chelsea held a three-point lead over Paris Saint-Germain at the top of their group ahead of December 16 clash with Vllaznia.
A win over the Albanian side sees the Blues advance to the knockout rounds ahead of their 23 December clash with PSG – their last game of the group stage.
Before that, the WSL leaders meet Reading at Kingsmeadow with a goal of clinching their tenth top division win this season.
The match comes in a week that saw Hayes and her assistant Denise Reddy win the Barclays FA Women’s Super League Manager of the Month award in November.
The Chelsea boss said: “It’s a close turn so we need to rest very quickly, Friday off then back in on Saturday and play again on Sunday but we’re used to it.
“It doesn’t make it any easier, but I always think it’s at least a little bit more palatable to play away on a Thursday and then play at home on Sunday.
“But we have the experience of it and I think everyone in the squad is training at a really good level that we have such great players that we can handle this type of game.”
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6876124/emma-hayes-chelsea-real-madrid/ Chelsea boss Hayes says a draw with Real Madrid is a “fair result” after Blues dropped points in the Champions League