Sunday, May 28, 2023

Erin Cuthbert says Chelsea spurred on by feeling ‘everybody’s been against us’

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 May 2023


Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert says a sense “everybody’s been against us” has “added fuel to our fire” this season as the Blues hunt down more silverware.

Emma Hayes’ side will on Sunday bid to secure the Women’s FA Cup for a third successive season, facing a Manchester United outfit at Wembley looking to claim their first major trophy.

Chelsea are currently also vying with United to win the Women’s Super League, which would be a fourth title in a row, and there have been two League Cup triumphs as well for the club since their trophyless 2018-19 campaign.

Cuthbert, who helped Chelsea achieve a league and FA Cup double in her first full season after joining in late 2016, said: “I feel like everybody’s been against us this season, so it’s just added fuel to our fire.

“I think everybody expects the winning team to slip up all the time. So it’s our job to keep proving we are still at the top, and to try to remain there is probably the hardest thing.

“It requires a lot of psychological training, mental toughness – but that’s drilled into us in training every day, about being winners.”

Asked if she felt it was getting more difficult to win trophies domestically due to the competition of other clubs, Cuthbert said: “It is getting harder, for sure.

“But it feels like the very first time – I still get the same excitement and feeling. It feels like I’ve not won the league. I still feel the same way how I did winning the first title with Chelsea. I’m still as driven and as motivated as ever.

“If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t be at this club any more. I still feel I have more to give and like the little flame inside me is still lit.”

Chelsea were beaten by Arsenal in the League Cup final in March – something Cuthbert says left her “raging” – while their bid for a first Champions League crown ended last month in the semi-finals.

A 1-1 draw against Barcelona at the Nou Camp saw Hayes’ side lose 2-1 on aggregate, and Cuthbert said: “We were absolutely gutted to go out. But as soon as we were in that dressing room, everybody said, ‘This is time to go and try to get two titles now’.”

Chelsea defeated Marc Skinner’s United 3-1 and 1-0 in their two WSL encounters this season and Cuthbert says that while “of course mentally (that) does play a part” it is “difficult to say if there is a favourite”, regarding the sides as “fairly evenly matched”.

Sunday’s showpiece is the first Women’s FA Cup final to have sold out Wembley, with the attendance record set to be smashed. That came last season when Chelsea beat Manchester City 3-2 after extra time in front of 49,094 – a game that saw Cuthbert score with a stunning strike in normal time.

Reflecting on an occasion she felt summed up Chelsea’s “resilience”, she said: “What a moment that was for myself personally. I don’t normally score a lot of goals – and when it hits off the crossbar, comes down and hits the net, I was buzzing with that!

“The experience of playing at Wembley is certainly a day to remember. It’s a big occasion and my family always come down for it, so for me, that’s really special.

“My mum described it one time as one of the best days of our lives. That is also my motivation to get there – give my family a day to remember, after so much they’ve given for me.”

Cuthbert in November signed a new contract with Chelsea running to 2025, and when asked if she had thought about the possibility of a future move abroad, the 24-year-old Scotland international said: “Of course you think about it.

“But I wouldn’t have signed my deal if I didn’t want to be at Chelsea, certainly for the next couple of years. What I do after that is a different conversation, but nothing is forever.”


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