Harder on her hunger to help out
Pernille Harder has had to sit on the sidelines for much of the current campaign so the pivotal part she played in Chelsea Women’s victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup final yesterday felt especially sweet.
The Dane required surgery in November after sustaining a serious hamstring injury on international duty. She only made her return to the Chelsea side in last month’s Champions League semi-final tie against Barcelona.
Since then Harder has netted braces in the big home wins over Everton and Leicester, but in front of a world-record crowd for a domestic women’s game on Sunday, she made her biggest contribution yet. Racing on to a Guro Reiten pass down the right flank, her centre to Sam Kerr could not have been better weighted or placed.
‘She changed the game for us,’ was Kerr’s verdict afterwards, with that injection of added quality proving the difference in a very tight cup final. For Harder, it was joy unconfined as she added yet another winners’ medal to her enviable collection.
‘It’s sad when you are out for so long, but when you come back you just have so much energy, motivation, and hunger,’ she said.
‘So it’s amazing to come back to this game and now to be involved in the win. Chelsea means a lot to me. I have had so many good memories here, and the fans are unbelievable.
‘This win feels so special. It’s amazing to win. It’s amazing to win titles, and a full Wembley is amazing.’