Chelsea Women face a season-defining fortnight with the Champions League final on May 16 following the climax of the Women’s Super League title race; Emma Hayes has called on her players to fight to win both competitions; Chelsea face Tottenham in their game in hand on Wednesday
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has stressed she wants to win the Women’s Super League (WSL) « as much as anything » and her team « have to deliver on both fronts » with a Champions League final to come.
The Blues moved into the Women’s Champions League final for the first time, as a 4-1 triumph over Bayern Munich at Kingsmeadow gave them a 5-3 victory on aggregate on Sunday.
On Wednesday, they return to WSL action by facing Tottenham away – their game in hand over leaders Manchester City.
Second-placed Chelsea are a point behind City, with a goal difference that is one better. After Wednesday’s contest, the sides then conclude their league campaigns on Sunday when Hayes’ side host Reading and City play West Ham away.
Hayes, whose team face Barcelona in the Champions League final in Gothenburg on May 16, has emphasised that « we have to deliver on both fronts ».
« Imagine we’d lost [against Bayern] and you have to play on Wednesday, and you’ve got to pick a dressing room up that loses, imagine how hard that is in my position, » Hayes said.
« From a winning position, I can get them to do anything. From a losing position, that would have been a big challenge. That was on my mind before the game. I kept thinking, ‘If we want to win the league, we still have to win both of those games – please win’, because I think that would be an impossible task.
« We have to deliver on both fronts. I want to win the league, as much as anything. That’s your bread and butter. That’s what Vic (Akers) taught me – it’s your bread and butter. »
Chelsea are just the second English team to reach the continental competition’s final, following the 2007 effort by an Arsenal outfit who had Hayes working as assistant boss under Akers.
That team won a quadruple, something this Chelsea side can also achieve, with the Continental League Cup already secured.
Chelsea playmaker Fran Kirby, who scored twice in the win over Bayern, described the victory as « unbelievable » but urged the team not to lose focus on the league.
She said on the club’s official website: « We’ve been in this competition a long time and I was there in the first season that we started off in this competition.
« I’ve seen how we’ve grown and how we’ve grown as a team. Everyone gave everything, there were bodies on the line and it’s really special.
« It’s one of the most important wins but for us we have to focus on what we’ve still got coming up.
« We’ve got the league that we want to win and then we’ve got this one which we also want to go and win. We can’t just be happy with getting to the final. »
Chelsea are preparing to face a Tottenham side who are eighth in the WSL table, guaranteed not to go down and winless in their last nine league games, two of which have been draws.
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