Chelsea boss Emma Hayes speaks of her appetite for more success before cup final

Phil Medlicott, PA
·4-min read

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has spoken of her appetite for more success ahead of Sunday’s Continental Tyres League Cup final against Bristol City.

Winning the contest at Vicarage Road would see the Blues retain the trophy, something they are also aiming to do in the Women’s Super League, which they currently lead.

Meanwhile, they are through to the Champions League quarter-finals, with Friday’s draw giving them a tie against Wolfsburg.

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The silverware Chelsea have secured since Hayes took charge in 2012 also includes two FA Cups.

Asked what each trophy means to her, Hayes said: “I probably won’t look back on it until the end of my career, where I will reflect on what we’ve done here, because I’m not full.

“I haven’t accomplished anything, I haven’t achieved anything as far as I’m concerned, and the reason I say that is not because I haven’t. It is a bit like when you have a satisfying meal – you get comfortable, and I’m not a comfortable human.

“I’m not one who settles for anything other than extraordinary from everybody around me. The bar is high.”

Chelsea have won three WSL titles, two FA Cups and one League Cup under Hayes (Bradley Collyer/PA).
Chelsea have won three WSL titles, two FA Cups and one League Cup under Hayes (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Chelsea are seen as strong favourites for Sunday’s contest against a Bristol City outfit lying second-bottom of the WSL.

Hayes said: “I’ve played on both sides – I’ve been the underdog and I’ve been the favourite. I’m happy being the favourite. I think it’s where the group is at. They accept the responsibility that comes with being here at this club.

“But I know what I’m like – I don’t rest my mind about these things, and I’m not complacent. I think my background makes sure of that.

“My feet are on the floor. I’ve learned that when for just one moment you underestimate an opponent, that’s it, finished.”

Bristol City’s five league games so far under interim boss Matt Beard include a 5-0 home defeat to Chelsea last month, but they have also secured seven points, and moved off the bottom of the table with a 3-2 win over Reading on Monday.

Hayes, who thinks the Robins will stay up, said: “You could probably cite millions of games in history, from Wimbledon back in the day, Wigan, an underdog when they won (the men’s FA Cup) – that is what cups are about, one-off events.

“There is no doubt we have more experience of being in this position than them, but they have all the freedom of knowing they don’t have that pressure and expectation, they can just go and play and enjoy themselves.

“And off the back of their game (on Monday) there is no doubt that team will come out and play with the mentality Matt has instilled in them.”

Bristol City have had interim boss Matt Beard in charge since January (Martin Rickett/PA).
Bristol City have had interim boss Matt Beard in charge since January (Martin Rickett/PA)

Beard, Hayes’ predecessor at Chelsea, took temporary charge at Bristol City in January until the end of the season, coming in as maternity cover for boss Tanya Oxtoby, whose baby is due this month. Oxtoby is set to be in attendance on Sunday.

Hayes, pregnant when her team won the FA Cup in 2018, said when asked about Oxtoby: “I think you have to really appreciate how tough this might be for her. She’s at home pregnant while her team is winning and doing well under another manager.

“I said to her it is so important you let go to that process and try to find the best way to enjoy not only them excelling, which she does, but that you’ve played a major part in that. She deserves to be there.

“I got to lead my team out at Wembley eight days, or maybe two weeks, before I gave birth. I would just encourage her to sit down, enjoy it as best she can and take pride that she’s done an incredible amount of work to get the team into that position, along with Matt.”