Why was Lauren James subbed before half-time vs Man City? Chelsea boss Emma Hayes explains ruthless decision after 2-0 defeat

Lauren James Emma Hayes compositeGetty
  • Chelsea lost 2-0 to Man City on Sunday
  • James and Ingle came off after 36 minutes
  • Blues drop to third in the WSL table

WHAT HAPPENED? James and Ingle were replaced by Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Niamh Charles after only 36 minutes on Sunday, with Chelsea having gone two goals down inside the opening half an hour.

WHAT THEY SAID: After describing her team's performance as "sluggish", following a midweek Champions League win over Lyon, Hayes was asked why she made those changes. "Legs," she said. "The game was very difficult. Your minds can want to do a million things. If your legs can’t, that’s the challenge.

"Sometimes you stimulate a response, particularly from a losing position. Often managers can be criticised if you’re 2-0 down you don’t do much. I think it helped a little bit to bring freshness into the wide spaces and losing a midfielder.

"I don’t think people really realise how tough it is to come here in the third away game in seven days after an away game in Lyon, really, really tough."

Asked specifically about the substitution of James, Hayes said: "I’m not going to focus on Lauren. I made tactical decisions and they were the right decisions."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Chelsea have now dropped to third in the Women's Super League table, with Man City up to second - level on points with leaders Manchester United. The Blues, however, are only a point behind the pair and do have a game in hand.


Lauren James Chelsea Women 2022-23GettySophie Ingle Chelsea Women 2022-23GettyEmma Hayes Chelsea Women 2023Getty

WHAT NEXT? Chelsea face Lyon again on Thursday in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie and will need to bounce back immediately in order to secure progress to the semi-finals.