Emma Hayes can’t wait for Chelsea Women to kick-off our Women’s FA Cup campaign as we look to make it four trips to Wembley Stadium in the past five years.
The Blues lifted the trophy last year and in 2015, as well as reaching the final in 2016, and we start our defence of the competition this Sunday with a trip to Everton in the pick of the fourth-round ties.
‘Every team in this country wants to go and play in the FA Cup final at Wembley,’ said the manager. ‘We've done it three times in four years and I want to go and do it again. It's a wonderful competition and we're the holders.
‘The whole dressing room wants to experience it again. But it's at the start of a really big three-game week, with three different competitions.
‘This will be a very difficult game. Cups always are. Everton are a stubborn young side and they drew with us at their ground earlier in the season. I think this will be a much tougher game than when we played them at home recently.
‘They showed last year, when they went against Arsenal toe-to-toe in the semi-final, that they're an improving team, and under Willie Kirk they are getting better. We certainly got the toughest tie of the round, so I won't take them lightly. It will be a really hard week for us.’
Following the trip to Everton, we then welcome Manchester City to Kingsmeadow in a Continental Tyres League Cup semi-final and it remains the only domestic competition we are yet to win.
‘It's also the one competition where we haven't progressed to the final, and we all want to win it,’ Hayes added. ‘Unlike the FA Cup, I think we've been knocked out of this competition by City more than any other side. So to draw them at home, again, in the semi-finals, in a very busy week, is an opportunity for us to show the depth we have at our disposal.
‘There's a determination from the squad to progress one stage further. It's been spoken about in the dressing room many times – it's a competition we haven't won, and we're desperate to progress to another final. It's about winning trophies, and we're one game away from reaching a final, so it's an important game for us.’
- After that we face City in the league at the Academy Stadium, followed by a meeting with Bristol City at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday 20 February. Tickets are available online and all supporters will pick up a free Chelsea FC scarf on the night.