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Hayes hails debutant Fishel's impact as Blues get up and running
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Robert O'Connor
Press Association
Mia FIshel impressed boss Emma Hayes on her WSL debut for Chelsea
Mia FIshel impressed boss Emma Hayes on her WSL debut for Chelsea

Emma Hayes praised the impact of debutant Mia Fishel after Chelsea's summer signing scored on her Super League debut in Sunday's 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. 

The defending champions, aiming for a fifth successive title, took the lead via Fishel's header past Becky Spencer just before the half-hour mark. 

Lauren James then picked up where she left off last season, side-footing home from Guro Reiten's cross just seconds after the Norwegian had seen a goal ruled out. 

Tottenham's Martha Thomas, who missed a succession of chances earlier in the game, scored late on to give Chelsea a nervous finish but the champions held on for a deserved win. 

And it was Fishel's performance that Hayes singled out after a summer disrupted by international commitments. 

The Blues boss said: "She's one player that's been with us the whole of pre-season. 

"I think it's really helped her because she's been able to build some relations and work on parts of her game in the last six weeks. 

"We've been able to do a lot of individual work with her and get up to the speed of the way our team plays. 

"I still think there's other steps for her to take. Her link-up play, her hold-up play has been really good, but sometimes we want a second movement from her. 

"But she's smart, really smart, and I think she grew in the game. Even when she tired, she made good decisions. I'm really not surprised to see her get a goal." 

Preparations for the season opener had been largely hampered by a several of Hayes' players going deep into the World Cup with their national teams and then being on duty for the Nations League. 

She added: "We had a lot of players away on the international break and at the World Cup. I'm just looking forward to a full week of training with the whole squad. 

"The game reflected some really good moments, some bad moments, some mediocre moments. I think that's to be expected from the first game of the season."

New Spurs boss Robert Vilahamn was content with his side's performance, despite coming away from the Bridge empty-handed. 

He said: "I was very, very happy with how they performed. It was hard before this game to know where we are. 

"After 97 minutes. I realised we have taken big steps. We created goal chances, we scored one and we should have scored a few more perhaps."


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