Emma Hayes praises Chelsea’s culture as club targets Champions League double

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Phil Medlicott, PA
·3-min read
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Chelsea boss Emma Hayes is determined to lead her side to their part of a Champions League double at the London club.

Both the women’s and men’s teams are targeting European glory as they get set for semi-final second legs.

Hayes’ side take on Bayern Munich at Kingsmeadow on Sunday, trailing 2-1 from last weekend’s Women’s Champions League first leg in Germany.

Melanie Leupolz celebrates scoring a key away goal for Chelsea in Munich
Melanie Leupolz celebrates scoring a key away goal for Chelsea in Munich (PA Wire via DPA)

Thomas Tuchel’s men’s team then face Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge in their competition on Wednesday, having drawn 1-1 in Spain last week.

Asked about the two matches and Tuchel, Hayes told a press conference: “I had a lovely encounter with Thomas Tuchel. He’s a fantastic guy, a really open-minded, progressive coach.

“There’s a reason why the men’s team are performing like they are, and if we can mirror that success, side by side, how fantastic that would be.

“I’ve always said this about Chelsea – we always talk about winning in this place, that’s what comes with the territory.

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“We don’t mind the pressure, the expectations, the tags, the titles, whatever comes with it, we just know we’re a club that want to be in winning positions.

“And it’s great to think that both the men’s and women’s teams have reached these stages, but as I’ll always say, we’re about winning things, not just getting here.”

She added of Tuchel: “He loves the team, he knows women’s football.

“We had a chat about his time at Paris St Germain, and we just exchanged conversation in and around Chelsea to be honest with you.

Thomas Tuchel has impressed since taking over Chelsea's men's team
Thomas Tuchel has impressed since taking over Chelsea’s men’s team (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“I’ve been here a long time so I welcomed him to the club, and I’m really excited about him being here. He’s a top coach. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of interactions between us in his time.”

While Tuchel was appointed as successor to Frank Lampard in January, Hayes has been in charge at Chelsea since 2012, guiding the club to numerous pieces of silverware.

That includes winning three Women’s Super League titles, with a strong chance of adding a fourth in the next week, two FA Cups and two Continental League Cups – which they successfully defended in February.

The club are aiming for a first Women’s Champions League final appearance, having been beaten semi-finalists twice before, in 2018 and 2019.

Chelsea have already lifted a trophy this season
Chelsea have already lifted a trophy this season (Mike Egerton/PA)

If they make it on Sunday, Hayes will be the first female manager to reach the final since the competition was rebranded as the Champions League in 2009.

Asked if she was surprised more leading women’s club sides had not hired female coaches, Hayes said: “Yeah probably, but I think the women’s football world has taken a while to wake up to female coaches, and thankfully there’s many more of them across our league in particular.

“We have to make sure we’re ready for these jobs and these positions, but I think if you see the number that are being hired across the game now it’s certainly more reflective of society and it will become more normal that a female coach may be part of a finalist.

“Hopefully that’s something I can fulfil on Sunday, but hopefully it becomes the norm.”