Reading FC Women manager Kelly Chambers has been speaking about her side’s defeat at the hands of reigning Women’s Super League champions Chelsea at Madejski.
Reading fell to a quintet of goals from former Royal Fran Kirby and a late strike from Ji So-yun in an unfortunate start to the new year.
Chambers was typically honest in her critique of her side, “I said to the girls at half-time that we had given them the game in the first half. If I compare that performance to our last few performances, then it’s quite clear to me that we didn’t turn up. We had no energy, no urgency, no intensity and that’s what we’re all about and we didn’t have any of it, so it’s very disappointing.”
Reading never seemed to get out of the starting blocks and lacked the quality that they had shown in previous matches, leading up to their final match of 2020; a solid 3-1 win against Brighton & Hove Albion. “Was it the Christmas break?” Chambers continued. “Was it too long? Have the players’ focuses been too much on what’s been going on in women’s football this week? Who knows? But we have to focus on us and our game, and I don’t think that we did that and we didn’t come out and deliver as we usually do.
“If you look at the performances before Christmas, you wonder whether the break came at the wrong time for us. We had a lot of momentum from great performances prior to that, and we had just started to turn those performances into results too.”
On former Reading player Kirby – who scored four of Chelsea’s five goals – a player Chambers worked with for many years, she said, “We know Fran is quality and it’s great to see her back on the pitch as she’s been out for quite some time. She’s a fantastic player, but I don’t feel that we did enough to stop players like her getting shots off; we made it just too easy for their strike-force and gave them far too much time on the ball.”
Finally, on what has been an inconsistent start to an unprecedented season, Chambers reasoned, “This season’s been a real transitional one in terms of the amount of players that exited the club and the amount that we’ve brought in. It’s taken us this long – minus the game against Chelsea – to get where we wanted to be, so obviously the Chelsea result is a setback, as prior to that, we were in a good place performance wise and started turning those performances into results. We need to make sure we work hard on turning things around ahead of next week.”
Reading FC Women are next in action on Sunday as Arsenal travel to the Madejski for a 2pm kick-off and all the action is live on the FA Player.