Brave Chelsea Boss Emma Hayes takes the blame for trophyless season but vows to be back stronger for Arsenal


Football managers are legendary for their excuses after a bad result, but Jurgen Klopp will surely never utter the post match words of Chelsea Women boss Emma Hayes.

She had just watched her side narrowly knocked out of the Champions League by holders and favourites Lyon, having been the better side throughout the day. Commenting on her side failing to win a trophy in 2019, she told the press:

“I’m gutted we don’t have a trophy. It’s not through lack of effort or lack of care or lack of quality. It’s been a season where we’ve just been that far away from everything.

“It’s my fault. It’s not the players. I had a baby. I wasn’t at my best at the beginning of the season, and I really wasn’t good enough for the team.”

Chelsea were so near to pushing a tiring French side to extra time in the 1-1 draw in South London. England international Karen Carney hit the post in the first half and for Hayes, that was a key moment:

“The better team has lost. If Kaz Carney’s goal goes in, there’s no way they’d have recovered in extra time. Lyon’s best player in both legs has been their goalkeeper. When was the last time Lyon’s goalkeeper was their player of the match?”

Indeed Lyon keeper Sarah Bouhaddi had to be at her best, as did French international defender Wendie Renard, who entered the field with the calm and grace of a Virgil van Dijk and left it with the relief of a Pep Guardiola, having been given a busy afternoon by the likes of Fran Kirby, Ji So-Yun and Erin Cuthbert.

Erin Cuthbert stays humble, but Chelsea coach Hayes sees a woman and a player “growing in stature”

Having said that her family issues meant wasn’t at her best at the start of the season, and admitted that this may have affected the team, she clearly perked up when talking about young Harry Hayes, after a reporter asked about her son who was born in May 2018 and had been suffering from a viral infection this week.

“He’s marvelous now. He’s getting me up all week but you know what, he does that every week. That’s what babies do. I’m sure he’s proud of mummy, sitting in the crowd. I saw him.”

Hayes’ bravery is even greater when you recall the circumstances surrounding her son’s birth. Having announced her pregnancy in December 2017, tragedy struck when one of the twins she was carrying did not survive the third trimester.

Chelsea did the double last season, winning both League and Cup domestically. However competing in Europe as well this season has stretched their resources. They lost the Cup semi final to Manchester City last week and will finish third at best in the FAWSL table behind champions Arsenal and City, and possibly even behind Birmingham City though that is unlikely.

Arsenal clinched the title at Brighton with a 4-0 win although Chelsea were already out of the title race by the time they kicked off against Lyon on Sunday afternoon.

Hayes congratulated Arsenal but with a grin, pondered how they might cope with the challenges caused by a fixture build should they match Chelsea’s run to the Champions League semi final.

“First of all congratulations. They’re deserving of it. I’ll go on record to say well done to them, to (Arsenal coach) Joe (Montemurro). His team have been fantastic in the league.

“Now they’ll get to see how hard it is to manage multiple competitions. It’s my turn to have one game a week! So well done to Arsenal and we’ll see you next year!”

Chelsea have two games left before the squad splits up for the Women’s World Cup in France where Scotland’s Cuthbert will face at least two of her club colleagues, Carney and Millie Bright and possibly Hannah Blundell, Kirby and Carly Telford.

World Cups tend to increase anticipation for league campaigns immediately after. England’s women’s domestic league the WSL will be no exception.


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Amy Christophers is a British TV & Radio Sports Presenter, Journalist, Qualified Referee for the FA, Award Winning Social Media Influencer and model. Amy has amassed a huge online following on Instagram (92,000), Twitter (88,000) Facebook (20,000) and her many subscribers on YouTube and Snapchat. Twitter : Showreel:

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