Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has clarified why Lauren James was unexpectedly left out of her team’s narrow FA Cup victory over Crystal Palace.
Mayra Ramirez’s remarkable 81st-minute goal ensured the Blues’ advancement to the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over second-tier Palace at Kingsmeadow on Sunday. However, England star James was notably missing from the victory. Manager Hayes explained she was sent home due to illness.
“She was a little bit sick yesterday (Saturday). Her tonsils were up and I decided not to take the risk. I told her to go home. She will be fine. You have to make those decisions knowing you’ve got some big games coming up.” Said Emma Hayes on James’ absence.
Chelsea is on track for a record-breaking season, leading the Women’s Super League and progressing to the knockout stages of the Champions League, the semi-finals of the League Cup, and the last eight of the FA Cup. Hence, strategically resting key players at opportune moments could be crucial for their future success.
Emma Hayes’ formidable Chelsea side faces high-flying Manchester City at home in a top-of-the-table WSL clash on Friday night. Afterward, they enjoy a two-week break before traveling to face mid-table Leicester City on March 3rd.