Emma Hayes was disappointed with the battling quality from her side after seeing Arsenal come from behind against the Blues to win their first trophy in nearly four years.
Sam Kerr had headed Chelsea into the lead within two minutes of the start of Continental Tyres League Cup final, but Arsenal fought back to go 3-1 up on the stroke of half-time ahead of a goalless second half.
Once the scores were level, Hayes saw a change in the contest which she later tried to remedy with substitutions and a formation change, but it was a game she said was decided more by desire than tactics and she acknowledged Arsenal were the better side.
‘We scored early, were comfortable for 10 minutes, then as soon as Arsenal got the equaliser the momentum shifted,’ our manager said shortly after the final whistle at Selhurst Park.
‘We’ve won a lot over a long period of time and we looked like a team that had won a lot, and Arsenal looked like one that hadn’t, and that was a huge difference in the game.
‘The basics, the amount of one-v-one duals, first and second situations Arsenal dominated today, that is what I am most disappointed with. I don’t think anybody in our team being played well. Maybe the third goal killed the game off but for me that was not the defining moment. Sometimes losing games like this serves as a reminder of all the work you have to do if you want to stay on top.
‘Sometimes when you score a goal early and you have beaten the team a week before, you can get a little bit comfortable,’ Hayes continued. ‘I don’t think our team today looked anywhere near the side that I know. I saw the fire in the players for Arsenal and I didn’t see that in us today, and that made it really difficult to get back into the game. I’m very disappointed with that complacency from us.
‘We pride ourselves that regardless of anything, we make it difficult for the opponent and we didn’t do that enough, let alone play our game.
‘Arsenal have lost a lot to us over a lot of years, we have significantly more domestic trophies than they do in recent years, however when everything’s relatively even, and you see across the league that it is, if you’re off even five per cent and have as many players who play as poorly as we have today, then you can’t expect to win.’
She added that this result had better work as a wake-up call for her players who she said were very disappointed in the dressing room afterwards, not only because of the result but also because the players had not matched their usuals standards.
‘When you come into these games, everything has to be top class,’ Hayes said. ‘Sometimes you have to lose games like this to be reminded.’