Emma Hayes was beaming on Sunday, writes Jane Grove. The Chelsea manager was presented with a gleaming silver salver marking her 200th game in charge of the WSL team, and her smile became even wider after she was given roses by fans after the Blues’ 6-1 drubbing of opponents Bristol City in front of a
Emma Hayes was beaming on Sunday, writes Jane Grove. The Chelsea manager was presented with a gleaming silver salver marking her 200th game in charge of the WSL team, and her smile became even wider after she was given roses by fans after the Blues’ 6-1 drubbing of opponents Bristol City in front of a vocal 2,866-strong crowd at Kingsmeadow.
Of her landmark achievement covering eight years in charge of the top-flight team, Hayes (pictured above with the club’s executive manager Adrian Jacob) said: “I will remember the 200th for having the feeling that I have such an unbelievable team to work with and we’ve got so much more space to grow and improve; I really can see an evolution of the team.
“With the new players coming in I think we can add other dimensions to our game – you could see it today in the second half – so with a bit more time, as long as we keep the core group together, I think the team really will kick on.”
Hayes said her aim was to compete for trophies. “That’s all I want, trophies at this football club.”
Despite a squad banjaxed by flu, the players who were fit enough to don a blue jersey stepped up and performed with Beth England (2), Ji So-yun (2), Hannah Blundell and Jess Carter all scoring to make it a decisive win.
“We stuck to task, that’s what I thought we did well today. We stuck at it and we kept improving at it. In the first half our set-piece delivery was excellent; our execution of what we had worked on all week was good.”
Chelsea, currently third in the table with a game in hand, are not racing ahead of themselves. Hayes was taking it one game at a time. “The quality of the opposition from week to week can be so unpredictable.”
She thought the title race could go down to the wire with goal difference – and Manchester City, as well as Arsenal (crunch game away on Sunday 19th), would have a say in it.
“If you’d have asked me at the beginning of the game if I would have taken 6-1 today I would have gone yes, but during the game I was thinking ‘I want more’. I think you’ve got to make what you can of your head-to-heads.
“I don’t see how you can stop us scoring; I feel that about the team. But I will only be delighted when I have the title in my hand.”