Percival: Hammers are positive heading into Chelsea test
West Ham United know Chelsea will be a tough test this Sunday but are heading into this weekend’s Women’s Super League match feeling positive, according to Ria Percival.
The Irons return to league action with a trip to last season’s division champions, and Percival knows the Hammers are in for a challenge at Kingsmeadow.
However, the right-back says she and her teammates are confident going into the match.
It will be a challenge and we know the quality Chelsea have, but I feel we’ve prepared in the right way.
“I think it’s going to be a big game, a tough game, for us,” Percival told whufc.com. “It’s one that both sides will be desperate to win. We are definitely going into it with a positive mind-set. It will be a challenge and we know the quality Chelsea have, but I feel we’ve prepared in the right way.
“We’re always up for every game. We know that playing the top teams is always a battle, but for us, we need to focus on what we do well. We need to stop their threats and break down their play as much as we can.
“Once they get on the ball and start passing, they can hurt teams, so we need to stop that.”
Matt Beard’s side were beaten in their last match with the Blues, when Chelsea visited Rush Green Stadium in November, but Percival believes the team have developed since that result.
The New Zealand international says two great goals were the difference that day, and that West Ham know what to do to counter Chelsea’s attacking threat.
“When we played them at home last time it was a real battle and I feel we were always in the game, up until they got those late goals,” she continued. “If we come out and be up for the challenges from the start, like we were in the last match, then I think we’ve got a good chance.
“We built up since that last match and learned a lot. We’ve played quite a few games since that match too and we’ve worked on different things, and changed what needed changing.
“That match at home was a tough game but the difference ended up being two really good finishes, so this time we have to try and stop them getting their chances and also taking ours at the other end.”
With an FA Cup semi-final against Reading to come in just over two weeks, Percival and her teammates are naturally excited at the prospect of being just one win away from a trip to Wembley.
The defender says West Ham are fully focused on Chelsea this weekend, and want to ensure they finish as high up the league as possible.
She added: “We’re in the FA Cup semi-final now and I think we’ve really proven ourselves. We take every game as it comes though, and the semi-final with Reading is a few weeks away.
“Right now, we’re focusing on the league and trying to take points from a Chelsea team who are one of the top sides in this league.”