Even the best players in the world get nervous for big games, as Chelsea’s Sam Kerr admits she is feeling slightly tense about this weekend’s Women’s Super League final day title showdown.
Kerr’s Chelsea – who host Manchester United this Sunday lunchtime, live on Sky Sports – have a one-point lead over title rivals Arsenal, who go to West Ham, with just one matchday left of the season.
The Blues just need to better the Gunners’ result this weekend to clinch back-to-back WSL titles, with the Australian admitting she is confident due to last season’s experience of winning the league, but nervous at the same time due to the desire to win trophies.
“I think it’s a bit of both [nervous and exciting],” she exclusively told Sky Sports after collecting her Football Writers’ Association trophy. “I’ve been nervous all week before I care so much and want to win so much. We’re Chelsea – we wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’d much rather be in our position than anyone else’s with it being in our hands. And at the same time, this was the same title race last year with Man City, we’re used to this so this is not new and we’re going to enjoy it.”
Even though this weekend is very different to all the other matchdays, Kerr – who has 23 goals in 25 games this season – will still rely on her usual matchday routine to get here through.
“I’m very superstitious!’ the 28-year-old adds. “I normally don’t come to an awards night on the Thursday [before a game]!
“I just like to have the same meal the night before, spaghetti bolognese, and in the morning lots of coffee. And then just relax, chill. I’ve been wearing the same boots that are just well past their wear and people have been saying my boots are dirty! But we’re winning so there’s no way I’m throwing those boots out.
“I have a pair of socks that are my lucky socks but they broke but I’ve still been carrying them around in my bag – just weird stuff that footballers do.”
Kerr praises Hayes, WSL for improvement
While the Australian has been in and amongst the goals this season, her work off the ball has been equally impressive and that has allowed her to continue evolving as a player.
Kerr not only hails Chelsea boss Emma Hayes for that slight adjustment to her game, but also the entire Women’s Super League in general.
“I think in the women’s game, it [working off the ball and pressing] is becoming more important. My job is to score goals, but the most important thing is defending from the front, not making it easy for the defenders.
“I pride myself on scoring goals but I never give up, I’ll always do the best and even if you’re not scoring or not having your best game as a striker, the most important thing is you’re working for the team.
“I get just as excited when we score that goal down in Manchester with Jessie Fleming, I had nothing to do with the goal – no assist, no stat – but the press on the goalkeeper allowed her to snatch the ball and it’s really rewarding to allow your team-mates to take control of the game.
“I think one of the reasons me and Emma Hayes clicked is because we’ve both had those similar traits in a striker with lots of work off the ball. I think she’s just allowed me to be the player I am and she understands the person I am.
“I’m not the type of player who can sit in a room and do a film session for an hour. We do 10-minute film sessions and a lot of on-the-field coaching which I like.
“I’m a visual learner and Emma picks one or two things and works on them throughout the season. It’s the respect and understanding of each other that allows me to become the best player.”
Watch Chelsea vs Manchester United as the WSL title is decided on Sunday, live from 11am on Sky Sports Main Event, Football and Showcase