Hayes sets her sights on more trophies

After seeing her side lift the Continental Cup, Chelsea boss looks ahead to another big week

Friday, 19th March 2021 — By Catherine Etoe

Bristol City Women v Chelsea Women - FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup Final

Camden-born Chelsea boss Emma Hayes got her hands on yet another trophy after seeing the Blues beat Bristol City 6-0 to retain the Continental Cup. Photo: The FA via Getty Images

CHELSEA boss Emma Hayes thanked her lucky stars on Sunday after seeing her team defend their Continental Cup title at Vicarage Road.

There was nothing fortunate about their victory as the Blues hit fellow FA Women’s Super League side Bristol City for six without reply.

It was more that Camden Town-born Hayes was wowed by the relentlessness of her players as they served up the ninth title of her nine-year stint as Chelsea manager.

“I’m the fortunate one, because I get to work with these players every day,” said Hayes.
“How lucky am I to be charged with the task of managing this illustrious group?”

It was a modest response, but the former Parliament Hill School pupil did not hit upon this squad by accident.

With the backing of the club, Hayes has consciously built this group of world-class players.
Two of those, Australia skipper Sam Kerr and England striker Fran Kirby, took the Robins apart in Watford, with the former scoring a hat-trick, and the latter a brace.

Guro Reiten completed the 6-0 drubbing when she pounced to put the cherry on top for Chelsea.

The only downside for the Blues was seeing Norwegian defender Maren Mjelde – who Hayes described as the “mother hen” of the group – stretchered off with a knee injury that has ended her season.

It was back to business for the rest of Hayes’ charges in midweek, the WSL title holders overcoming Everton 3-0 in Walton, with goals served up by Kirby, Pernille Harder and Melanie Leupolz.

Still top of the WSL, with an FA Cup fourth round date with London City Lionesses set for mid-April and Champions League ties in the offing next week, Chelsea are chasing the quadruple this term.

Wolfsburg stand in their way in Europe and the first leg of their quarter-final battle kicks off this Wednesday in Budapest.

The German champions have knocked Chelsea out of this competition three times. But while Hayes, 44, is wary of their threat, she believes in her squad.

“Anyone who knows German teams knows they will run and run hard and they have top players in their side,” she told the Tribune.

“But we’re confident and our approach to the game is about us and how we impose ourselves on them and how we learn and grow from, first of all, respect for them as the opponent and then our preparation and the quality of that preparation.

“If we get those two things right then we can go up another level, because I still think there is another level in this team, I do, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Six-pointers

Both Arsenal and Spurs will bid to get the better of rivals at either end of the table this week.
Joe Montemurro’s Gunners, currently fourth in the WSL, play host to third-placed Manchester United at Meadow Park tonight (Friday).

Six points separate the two, but Arsenal have a game in hand and really must beat United to stay in the chase for one of three Champions League spots next season.

Tottenham, who are eighth in the 12-team table, picked up a point at the weekend in a goalless draw away at Reading.

And Rehanne Skinner’s side will look to put further distance between themselves and the bottom four when they host strugglers Bristol City in Barnet.

Arsenal against Manchester United is on BT Sport at 6.30pm tonight (Friday). Tottenham versus Bristol City will be shown on The FA Player on Sunday at 2pm.

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