Chelsea forward Sam Kerr was in no mood for getting ahead of herself after securing her first silverware with the club after a dramatic 2–1 win over Arsenal in the Continental Cup final.
Beth England‘s 92nd minute winner, her second of the game, sealed the club’s first Continental Cup trophy at the ninth time of asking, but while Kerr admitted the trophy signaled “one of the three boxes ticked” as Chelsea tries to complete the domestic treble, the Australian is taking things game by game.
“There’s still a long way to go,” she said. “We’ll focus on one game at a time and not get too far ahead of ourselves. That’s what we did tonight, we treated it like a normal game and we’re not going to be thinking through to May because that’s when things get a bit tricky. We’ve focused on what we can control and it’s not easy, we played Liverpool the other day and only won 1–0, so it’s never easy.”
Kerr had to play the bridesmaid as her strike partner England once again stole the headlines, her first coming with a close-range finish from Guro Reiten’s header back across goal, while her winner will arguably be the easiest goal she’s ever scored, despite it’s magnitude.
Kerr, though, put in an industrious performance, working hard for the team and played a pivotal role in setting up the winner with her rugged determination down the right-hand side.
Manager Emma Hayes believes it may still be a while before England fans see the best of the National Women’s Soccer League Golden Boot winner, but Kerr is just happy to be scooping up the silverware.
“It feels nice! The last few times I’ve been to a final I’ve lost, so it feels really good. To do it with this group, it’s an amazing feeling and it’s no secret I came to Chelsea to win trophies and this is one of three boxes ticked for this year.
“I came off a break because I needed a break, I hadn’t one in eight or nine years. I still think I have so much more to give and honestly the hardest part is just getting to know how the girls play. As a striker, I want to score more but I’m not putting pressure on myself. I feel like I’m impacting the games and that’s what’s so great about this team, there’s so many players who can have an impact.”
Kerr also reserved praise for strike partner England who continued her good form before she heads off to the United States for the SheBelieves Cup, where the Lionesses open their tournament against the U.S. on Thursday night.
“Anytime a striker is scoring as many goals as Beth, they’re going to get all the media attention and she deserves it because she’s worked hard, she’s been unbelievable, she’s a good teammate, and she does a lot of work off the ball too. She scored the two goals but she gets through a lot of work for the team.”
Kerr also praised goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger who was just as influential at the other end in helping Chelsea win the match.
Berger made one stunning save in the first half to deny Louise Quinn, before thwarting Vivianne Miedema on several occasions after the break to keep the Blues in a game Arsenal largely dominated as the match wore on.
“We see it every day at training, she’s quite annoying to practice against! That’s no surprise to us, we were lucky to have her in goal tonight.”
Kerr was withdrawn by Hayes at the end of the game and replaced by Drew Spence, but the Australian doesn’t believe she’d have had any problems completing 120 minutes despite a vigorous schedule that has seen her take part in Olympic qualifying at the other side of the world.
The forward will fly off again to international duty on Monday and while Hayes says Kerr has something left in the tank before reaching peak fitness, Kerr herself acknowledged all her recent travel has taken its toll.
“I think it was Emma’s plan to take me off but I’ve played 120 minutes before and I would have lasted. I’ve been playing national team and I think more of the tiredness hasn’t come from not having a preseason, it’s come from all the traveling around the world.
“People don’t realize it takes me 25 hours to get home! I did that 10 days ago and I’m doing it again tomorrow. It’s not easy as an Australian footballer but that’s our job and we do it for the love of it.”
Kerr did admit that she is enjoying her time in England so far though, even if it has been a bit of a whirlwind combining club and country duties since arriving in January.
“I’ve been really enjoying it,” she said. “The team has been amazing, they’ve helped me a lot. The hardest part has probably been the cold. It’s just been hard to adjust to, I’m not used to it or playing in freezing cold weather and I’ve picked up a few injuries from it. But the club’s amazing, the staff are amazing, the team is amazing, and I’m actually really enjoying living in London.”
Eyes will now look forward to whether Chelsea can complete the domestic treble. With the club in the FA Cup quarterfinals and in a good position in the FA Women’s Super League after taking a draw at Manchester City next week, it’s not impossible that Hayes will lead the club to every trophy going.
However, Kerr believes it wouldn’t be wise for her or her teammates to start looking too far ahead with so many games still to play and Champions League qualification also a priority.
“The most important thing is winning the league and they go hand in hand, so we’re not thinking about that too much. Obviously, it’s in the back of our minds but it’s important for us to win the league and when you start to think about other things it gets clouded.
“We’re definitely going to celebrate tonight but come tomorrow and come after the international break it’s back to work. You’ve got to enjoy these moments, they don’t come around often as a footballer so we’ll enjoy this one.”