Chelsea manager Emma Hayes was full of praise for her team as they thrashed Bristol City 6-0 to win back-to-back Continental Cup trophies.
Coming off the back of qualifying for the Champions League quarter-finals earlier this week, Hayes admitted how much confidence it had given her side ahead of the final at Vicarage Road.
“Today was a performance from a team that is very confident at the moment. Qualifying for the quarters of the Champions League has given us so much confidence,” the Blues manager said.
“I thought we were unbelievable for the first 60 minutes. The pace, the intensity, the cohesiveness of the team. Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby were unbelievable today.”
The two forwards scored five of the game’s six goals, with Kirby assisting a staggering four times before being substituted off on the hour mark.
Kerr put the Blues on the scoresheet within the first three minutes of the game with a tap-in, and her second seven minutes later courtesy of another close-range strike across goal. Both assisted by Kirby.
The Australia captain spoke highly of fellow forward Kirby and is targeting further silverware this season.
“She’s easy to play with, I know exactly what she’s going to do and I think any forward in the team will say she’s a pleasure to play with,” Kerr said.
“We are not stopping here, we will enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow we turn back to the league. We are going to keep going until we win as many (trophies) as we can.”
By the 34th minute, Kirby had got her brace and took only three minutes into the second half to set up Kerr for her hat-trick.
The final goal came after 55 minutes as Guro Reiten jumped onto Kirby’s low cross into the six-yard box as Chelsea became the first team to win back-to-back Continental Cup finals since 2013.
Despite a second Continental Cup final in as many years, interim Bristol City manager Matt Beard stated his team were not as used to finals as him.
“The occasion got the better of us, no matter how much we tried to play it down in the week,” Beard said. “Earlier this week I asked the team how many of them have been in a cup final, and only one of them put their hand up.”
Chelsea’s victory was overshadowed when defender Maren Mjelde went down after a challenge from Bristol’s Aimee Palmer with 15 minutes remaining.
The Norway captain was carried off the pitch on a stretcher as gas and air was administered by paramedics, which was a major concern for Hayes.
“It is a bittersweet moment for me, Maren is a huge presence in our dressing room, she is the mother hen,” Hayes said.
“I am devastated for her, I know it’s a bad one (her injury), that win is for her today.”