Emma Hayes on whether the emotion of her final game will have any bearing on title-deciding day – and her legacy after twelve years

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CHELSEA manager Emma Hayes doesn’t think the fact that it is her last game in charge after twelve years will have any bearing on this title-deciding weekend. 

The Blues are level on 52 points with Manchester City but top the table with a better goal difference of two. They have also scored six more goals than City, 65 to 59. 

Chelsea are away to Manchester United at 3pm on Saturday, the same time as City are at Aston Villa. 

Hayes is aiming to lead the side to a fifth consecutive Women’s Super League title before she leaves to take over the United States women’s team. 

“I think we’re accustomed to being in that position,” Hayes said in her pre-match press conference when asked if there is extra motivation in her last match. “Everybody knows what’s at stake. We’ve had a lot of winning so I don’t really think the pressure is on us. 

“I want to leave with another title but I know for the players that for me the most important thing is we stick together and continue to demonstrate why we’ve always had the resilience to be at the top end come the end of the season.” 

Hayes said after her side’s 4-3 defeat to Liverpool earlier this month the title was “gone”. Chelsea had three games left compared to City’s two, but were six points behind their rivals. 

Chelsea have won both games since, while City conceded two goals in the last two minutes to lose 2-1 to Arsenal last weekend. 

Hayes said: “If I was to ask you what the odds were at 88 minutes [of the latter game] of Chelsea winning the title, they’d be very slim. I felt everything was there for City to win and they didn’t so left that door ajar. It wasn’t mind games in that moment.”

Hayes took her last-ever training session with the squad on Friday. 

“We all know I’m the sort of coach who wants to be as professional as I can until the end,” Hayes said. “I meant what I said, I want to have a great training session. We get to hopefully play in front of a close to sold out crowd at Old Trafford. We get the opportunity to train so hard to be in with a shout of a title on the last day. I’m just extremely proud of the efforts of everyone to put us in this position.”

“I had my last drive into work today, my office is already cleared out, it’s my last coaching session with a group I’ve built strong bonds with. Staying on top of emotion is something I’m really good at.

“But I wouldn’t change a single thing and I am so delighted to get one more training session with my team and one more game and I know for sure I’m going to enjoy it.”

Hayes was asked about her legacy. 

She replied: “It is hard to always think about the past, especially twelve years ago. But going from nothing, an unranked team that were close to relegation, had no facilities, no players, I think the journey is probably the most satisfying piece of that.

“People would like to pick holes in the things you don’t do but what we’ve achieved is remarkable given the starting point. To get the respect and be part of a club who bought into that I’m probably most proud of that. Winning is just as important but I don’t think the winning will be my lasting memory.”


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