Chelsea, after a recent training session at the El Viso football ground.
"It's painful when the other side scores, but we are learning to just keep fighting"

"It's painful when the other side scores, but we are learning to just keep fighting"

The player, who has spent eight seasons with the club, has been a key player in the team during their difficult debut in the highest category


Friday, 5 October 2018, 14:13


Her pain is shared by the whole team and the tears she holds back as she answers these questions (the interview takes place after three consecutive defeats and before last week's draw) show her character and dedication. Chelsea Ashurst (Leeds, UK, 1990) is one of the main figures in Malaga CF's women's team, where she made her debut in the first team when she was 15. This year, in their higher category, the team are having a difficult time, but she insists that they will be smiling again before too long.

What is the situation for the team at the moment?

We lost three matches in a row, but there was something positive about all of them. We are making progress and are still keen; we still get excited about playing. We can't be despondent; we would be dead if we did that. We have to be realistic: we came up from the second division with a completely new team, but nobody can accuse my team of not working. Anyone who thinks that should come and watch us every day. We just have to be patient.

You and Adriana are holding the reins now, aren't you?

Well yes, but as Adriana often says, we are all captains. We need to improve and get over this. We have to keep working at it. If you get downhearted, it shows on the pitch. We can't put our heads in the clouds and say we are going to win everything. It is very difficult; there is a great difference between categories.

These are times when psychological work is also needed. Who helps the team with that?

We do it ourselves, really, with Antonio [Contreras, the coach] and Mario [the coordinator]. Psychologically this is a painful situation, but we have to have faith and carry on, we can't let ourselves get depressed. Everything will come in time.

After the game against Betis, Contreras went into the changing room, which he doesn't normally do. What did he say to you?

Antonio knows what we're going through and that in the end we all suffer, but he encouraged us and told us that it was obvious we were a First Division team. People who really know about football will understand that the other day we played well but the balls didn't want to enter the goal and when the other team tried, they scored. That's football.

As a goalkeeper, how do you deal with those times when the other side score a goal due to an isolated error?

It's painful when you let a goal in, but we are learning not to get depressed about it. We also remember that if they can score goals, then so can we, so we just keep on fighting.

When the goals start to happen, will the wins happen too?

These things are complicated when you go up a category, but when it happens then everything gets easier, you can see beyond it. We have good players, a good team in general, and we can do it.

I once read that you haven't always been a goalkeeper...

Yes, I used to be a forward. But I had a motorcycle accident in La Herradura when I was 13, and had to stop for a year. Then one day, watching my friends, I joined in as goalkeeper, with no gloves and in my everyday clothes, and didn't do badly.

And how did you come to be playing for Malaga, and at this level?

I first played in Malaga in this category when I was 15, in 2005. Later I went to Sporting de Huelva and after that to Barcelona.

Was it your decision to return to Malaga, or was it made for you?

At first I had offers from other teams, but then I had family problems and had to go back to Granada so I talked to the directors at Malaga and they gave me this opportunity to play in Primera. Granada is my home - I grew up there, not in England - but as a club Malaga has given me a lot.

What has it given you?

It was the first club to give me such a great opportunity and it has made me who I am today.

How do you get on with the players in the male team?

They ask us how we're doing, they wish us luck and we're grateful for that. I invite them to come and watch us, just as we go and watch their matches. In the end we are all playing for the same club.

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