CHELSEA Ladies midfielder Laura Coombs believes returning to London with the International Women’s Club Championship trophy to declare will send out a big message to the rest of the teams in the Women’s Super League.
Chelsea have recruited England duo Rachel Williams and Laura Bassett so far this winter, with further signings expected before the WSL starts again in April, with the Blues desperate to improve on last year’s frustrating campaign.
The players have also been doing their talking on the pitch, with Coombs on the scoresheet as Chelsea beat Sydney FC 3-2 in the semi-final of the IWCC in Japan to set up a final with Tokyo side INAC Kobe Leonessa on Sunday afternoon local time.
For Coombs, 22, from Dartford – who has been with the club for two years – it is an exciting time to be at Chelsea and she is targeting some early silverware in a bid to let the rest of the WSL know the squad mean business.
‘It was good against Sydney as we haven’t won for a while so that was important and now we want to carry on with that feeling,’ said Coombs, a member of the England Under 23 set up.
‘The new girls have been great. They have fitted in on and off the pitch and there is a great vibe around the place and everyone is getting on really well which is great for next season.
‘It would be amazing to win. It would help us forget about last season and send a message out that we are a team to be reckoned with next year.
‘We will begin with the aim for a top half finish and then see how it goes. There are some strong teams like Liverpool and Man City are recruiting well but we have strong personalities on and off the pitch and if we combine it all together then we could do really well. One of the top spots isn’t beyond us.’
Chelsea will be the underdogs in front of a sell-out crowd at the Ajinomoto Stadium, with INAC packed full of international stars and the reigning Japanese league and cup holders.
But Chelsea aren’t short on big names of their own, including Japanese international and World Cup winner Yuki Ogimi, as well as the likes of Bassett and Williams.
And Coombs believes Chelsea new-look squad have the ability to leave Tokyo with the trophy, she added: ‘I don’t know that much about them, but if they have a team of Yuki’s they will be good!
‘In all seriousness we like playing against teams that play football. It suits us and it should be a good test.
‘In the past we have struggled against physical, direct teams as we are more suited to playing against passing sides, like INAC, and maybe we would have lost against Sydney a couple of months ago but we are a different side now and we are ready.’