Chelsea’s victory over Bristol City in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League marked Emma Hayes’s 200th game in charge of the club and the Blues boss isn’t planning on going anywhere just yet, writes Emily Salley.
The Blues were careful to avoid a repeat of Manchester United’s loss to Bristol City last week and despite conceding early on, produced a dominant 6-1 win.
The result takes Chelsea within touching distance of the WSL leaders Arsenal, who they will play on Sunday, in what could be a title-deciding fixture.
After taking the helm for the 200th time, Hayes was sentimental about her years at the club and praised her team, with hopes of more improvement moving forward.
“For any manager to survive eight years at Chelsea is always worth remembering,” said Hayes.
“I will remember the 200th game for having a feeling that I have such an unbelievable team to work with.
“We’ve got so much more space to grow and improve and I really can see an evolution of the team, with the new players coming in I think we are able to add new dimensions to our game.
“I’m here as long as they’ll let me coach them and my 200th game shows they still want me to do it.”
But will she be in charge of Chelsea for another 200 games?
Hayes added: “I don’t know about that! But hopefully enough for me to compete for trophies, that’s all I want – trophies for the football club.”
Thank you for the 200th. These players, you fans, this club. There is nowhere I’d rather be. My 💙 is forever blue pic.twitter.com/5S2bfJiwgm— Emma Hayes MBE (@emmahayes1) January 12, 2020
The south-west London side will be hoping to have a squad that is back to its fittest to face Arsenal after several players were affected by an outbreak of flu and no replacement goalkeeper was named on the bench against Bristol City.
“Carly [Telford] made it here so flu-ed up she had to get in the car, and someone had to drive her home because I didn’t want to expose any more players to it,” Hayes explained.
“Sam Kerr said to me she’s going to be the best and most expensive sub goalie I’ll ever have!”
The Chelsea manager dismissed any talk of becoming title favourites if they were to beat Arsenal at the weekend.
According to Hayes, the Blues’ goalscoring options are their biggest strength but she also believed that being in the title race should not be taken for granted.
“You had to be in that dressing room a year and a half ago to know how it felt to be out of the title in October,” Hayes said.
“I just know you’ve got to go one game at a time because the quality of the opposition from week to week can be so unpredictable.
“I don’t see how you can stop us scoring. I don’t think it’s about shutting one player down in our team, either you want to get tight to Beth England or Sam Kerr, you’ve got Erin [Cuthbert], you’ve got Guro [Reiten], Guro’s form has been top, and then you’ve got Ji [So-yun].
“If you take [Vivianne] Miedema out of their team, how many more goals would they have? She has been the difference.”