Hayes praises Chelsea’s midfield after trouncing of Everton sees Blues cut Manchester United's lead at the WSL's summit | The Sun

EMMA HAYES hailed her midfielders' finishing after Chelsea flashed their title retention credentials by hammering Everton.

Guro Reiten opened the floodgates with Pernille Harder scoring just ONE minute into her substitute appearance during the 7-0 rout. 

And Erin Cuthbert and Sophie Ingle, who came on as subs, were among the scorers on Sunday night with their facing Leicester next.

Chelsea converted all five shots they had on target in the first spell as they threw down a gauntlet in the league title race.

However they had to endure a fitness scare with Sam Kerr coming off in the first spell following a cramp issue with her leg. 

Hayes said: “They enjoyed themselves and added a couple (of goals) that I felt we needed more  goals from midfield. 

"There were not enough goals this year from midfield so for Jessie, for Sophie and for Erin to get on the score sheet that was needed. 

“With Pernille – I  said it the other day we missed so many goals from her this year. 

“She comes on and scores from her first touch and she was all over the place in the second half. 

“It allowed Sam, who hadn't been very well (to come off). She had been sick the night before and cramped up so we decided to take her out. 

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“It allowed Pernille to have a little bit longer than maybe we wanted her to have but overall, I'm happy.”

Blues gaffer Emma Hayes wanted “greater intensity” from her players after Liverpool came close to snatching a draw at Kingsmeadow last Wednesday. 

Their visitors got off to a flyer pressing their hosts high up the pitch in the early stages of the game.

Hayes added: "I was disappointed with us in the first 20 minutes of the game. We didn't  execute the game plan offensively. 

“That's something we need to address with the team because two games running we've started games slowly and in our dressing room that's not acceptable.”

Everton looked to pressurise in the opening minutes.

Jessie Fleming was forced to clear from a Toffees corner kick and Nicolene Sorensen causing problems down the flank

But the hosts ramped things up in attack with Reiten opening the scoring.

The forward did so with a superbly struck 12th-minute effort curled around keeper Courtney Brosnan 

And Kerr made 2-0 on the 25th minute powering a header past the Toffees shot stopper after Charles’ cross to the far post.

But the Australia skipper’s evening came to an end shortly after she came off following some discomfort with cramp in her leg. 

Kerr’s exit saw Harder enter the fray shortly after the half hour mark with the  midfielder thumping in a left-footed finish a minute later. 

And Ingle made it 4-0 sweeping the ball home before Fleming got in on the scoring before half time. 

Hayes altered things up in the second spell with Lauren James and Alsu Abdullina coming on for Reiten and Eve Perisset 

Her players bagged a sixth goal with Cuthbert teeing up Harder to fire home before the Scotland star netted in injury time to round off the 7-0 demolition.

Reiten’s opener saw notch her sixth goal in her 17th WSL game for Chelsea this season. 

Hayes said: You can tell Guro anything and she can implement it. When you have a highly intelligent player like that, it's a lot easier. 

“She has it technically but what I think she's developed this year is that ruthless streak in the biggest games in the biggest moments.”

The result saw Chelsea cut Man United’s lead at the top of the table to four with the team carrying two games in hand. 

A Wednesday night clash with Leicester City is up next for the title chasers at Kingsmeadow. 

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