Sam Kerr’s double leads Chelsea to emphatic WSL win over Everton

The Chelsea manager, Emma Hayes, urged “everybody to be calm and patient with Everton” after her Women’s Super League champions inflicted a 4-0 defeat of Willie Kirk’s side, their second in seven days.

“They’re going to be a good side,” Hayes said. “People are mad to think they are going to win leagues just like that. My team has been together 10 jare, some of us have been together seven or eight years. It takes time to build. I might have been afforded that time at the beginning, that becomes more challenging with the investment but we have to start being realistic about it.”

Sam Kerr, the WSL top scorer last season, scored twice with goals also for the PFA player of the year Fran Kirby and the England forward Beth England. But it was the terrier-like work rate of the Scotland forward Erin Cuthbert, the pinpoint crossing of Guro Reiten and the European player of the year Pernille Harder that stole the show.

“She’s been wonderful this preseason, it’s her first preseason,” Hayes said of Harder. “It’s an adjustment, you can see that in the Everton players that have come in this year. Pernille is settled, her role is clear, her understanding of this league is clear and I really look forward to seeing her best this year. What she doesn’t get credit for is her work rate, the volume of running she does in unbelievable.”

Everton’s heavy back-to-back defeats – this result followed a 4-0 dismantling by by Manchester City – prompted the club’s women’s commercial and sporting director, Sarvar Ismailov, to tweet “unacceptable” after an aggressive summer spend, before later deleting the comment.

“The first two results have been really poor, I’m not accepting them and the players are not accepting them,” Kirk said, when asked if he agreed with the assessment. “I don’t think anyone has patience now and with the investment in the squad we need to see results quick but we also need to be realistic and look at the investment outside of the playing squad and the gap between the investment we make and investment the top teams make. But the results, the 4-0s, are not down to investment and that’s my responsibility.”

Perhaps fuelled by the frustration of an opening-day 3-2 defeat against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Chelsea exploded to life in front of a flag-waving and vocal home crowd. It was time to wipe the slate clean.

“Everybody blows the first game of the season out of proportion,” Hayes said before their first home game of the season.

Except in a 12-team league every game matters, especially against title rivals. Hayes though had not started with her strongest XI, with Kerr and Kirby sat on the bench having not had much of a preseason after Hayes prioritised time off following the Olympic Games.

“It’s not a fitness issue, it’s a freshness issue,” Hayes said. “Is it frustrating? Yes. I think the whole calendar needs looking at, because nobody cares about player welfare.”

Hayes, who finds out who her team will play in the first Champions League group stage on Monday, also expressed solidarity with the City manager, Gareth Taylor, whose team did not play a single pre-season game before their Champions League qualifying two-leg tie with Real Madrid.

“If you don’t win the league and [therefore] you’re expected to compete in Europe within two weeks of [an international tournament like the Olympics or next summer’s Euros] and it’s not acceptable, it’s not acceptable for the players. Man City lose out as a result of that. Real Madrid had their players together the whole time, they didn’t have players at the Olympics, they all had a full pre-season, and then everybody is up in arms, having a go at City. Come on, give them a break.”

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