'It's always there' - quadruple on Chelsea minds

2 weeks ago 23
Ashley LawrenceAshley Lawrence (centre) is aiming to win her first trophy with Chelsea since joining from PSG last summer
Venue: Molineux Date: Sunday, 31 March Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website

Chelsea's players are talking about doing the unprecedented quadruple this season - but their focus is always on the next game, insists Ashley Lawrence.

The Blues have won the Women's Super League in each of the past four seasons and the FA Cup in the previous three - but could go even further this time.

They are through to the semi-finals of the Champions League after beating Ajax over two legs in their last-eight meeting, face Manchester United in the last four of the FA Cup, and the current WSL leaders could collect the first trophy of a potential four in the League Cup this weekend.

No English women's side has ever won four major trophies in a season, while the last team to win a Treble were Arsenal when they lifted the league, FA Cup and Uefa Women's Cup in 2007 - a year they also won the Community Shield.

It is Arsenal who will be aiming to spoil Chelsea's quadruple dreams in the Continental League Cup on Easter Sunday - just as they ruined a potential treble for the Blues by winning the same finalexternal-link 3-1 last season.

Chelsea defender Lawrence, 28, says the squad are taking nothing for granted in their quest for the quadruple.

"It's always there, we talk about it," she told BBC Sport. "But our focus is on day by day. We work towards the next game, but we are excited to be in this position.

"We are aware of the four trophies, Emma [Hayes] and the players who have been here a while know what it takes to win. It's always there, but not the main focus."

Chelsea are used to the strain of competing for multiple trophies at once.

They played in every match possible to be involved in last season, apart from the Champions League final as they were eliminated at the final-four stage. Hayes' side also reached the FA and League Cup finals and won the WSL.

It is new to Lawrence, who joined the club last summer from Paris St-Germain, but the Canadian said the team is ready to cope with a relentless run-in, even if it affects time on the training ground.

"We try to take the most important bits and pieces from a game and do better," she added. "If those things are specific and apply to the next game then the staff will focus on those things.

"But all season it has been a quick turnaround, playing for four different trophies, and we have just been accustomed to it."

'Hayes has that ultimate belief'

Emma Hayes (left) and Guro ReitenChelsea manager Emma Hayes (left) is aiming to win her 16th trophy with the club in the 2024 League Cup final

Lawrence, who has 130 caps for Canada, was brought to Chelsea by manager Hayes last season and has played a utility role for the club amid an injury crisis, deployed wide both in defence and midfield.

She admitted working with Hayes was an enormous draw for her to come to the WSL - and has been even more impressed at close quarters.

"She was a big part of my decision [to sign for Chelsea]," said Lawrence. "Everyone in the football world is aware of Emma, and the impact she has had in England and globally.

"It was an exciting opportunity to come to this club, for the players, the environment and for her.

"She exudes a lot of confidence, even before signing here I saw she has the ability to transform a team into a winning mentality. Now I am here I see she has that ultimate belief, that unwavering confidence. We need that going into finals."

Chelsea go into the first of those finals at Molineux as favourites after an impressive 3-1 win over Arsenal in the WSL at Stamford Bridge - a result that all but ruled the Gunners out of the title race.

Arsenal, however, have a good recent record against Chelsea, beating them 4-1 at the Emirates Stadium in the WSL this season, as well as the 2023 League Cup final.

"Anything can happen, especially in the final," warned Lawrence, who won gold with Canada at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. "We looked at that last game with confidence, but they are a top team and will come out for the next game different.

"It's going to be a level playing field, so we go in with the same conviction, as that was really good from the first whistle. We will not change much but we will be ready."

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