Emma Hayes says the high standard of performances consistently produced by Chelsea Women over the course of the campaign has meant her side are better prepared than ever heading into Wednesday’s top of the table clash with Manchester City.
The Blues sit at the summit of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, two points ahead of second-placed Manchester City with three league fixtures remaining.
Many will dub our fixture at City's Academy Stadium as the title decider and Hayes believes her side are well equipped for Wednesday’s crunch clash against Manchester City.
Speaking in a press conference, Hayes said: ‘I always knew it would come to these moments so it’s not like we aren’t prepared for it, I think the opposite. We treat it just like any another game.
‘The conversation is quite calm and relaxed because if you produce performance after performance then you are going to be in the position to be able to fight for what we are in a position to do. The fact that we’ve been doing that whilst competing on multiple fronts is unbelievable.
‘It doesn’t matter what the level is in the opponent because you have to get your mindset right, your preparation right, and as long as you get those things right you can step into the game. That’s what we have mastered much better this season in all my years here.
‘You ask if it’s my best team, it’s my most mature team that can handle a lot of big situations. We know all the challenges they are going to throw at us, we know they have to win the game and we are ready for it.’
Chelsea beat Man City in the Continental Tyres League Cup the last time the two sides met back in January to secure our first win on City’s turf in nine years.
Following our 4-2 quarter-final triumph against the Manchester side, the Blues eventually went on to win the Conti Cup and Hayes believes our League Cup success has since elevated the performance levels produced by her squad.
She added: ‘The levels of the whole group went up. Now, every single player is performing with the same level of consistency and that’s the hardest thing to strive for.
‘When you’ve got a lot of depth, sometimes that’s difficult because some players aren’t getting games, not getting minutes and it affects the confidence, it affects their own belief.
‘What I’ve always said is that you have to produce on the training pitch first, then you have to wait for your right moment.
‘You’ve seen it with a number of players that have come into the team, they’ve still been able to produce the performances and that’s a real testament to the squad here, that they’ve heard that and taken on their roles.
‘They are now contributing in a much different way than they were in the first half of the season.’
A Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich awaits the Blues following Wednesday’s top of the table clash with City and Hayes is confident her side has put themselves in the best possible position to be able to cope with the demands of our final run of season-defining games.
Hayes said: ‘It’s seems a little bit ironic that you are preparing throughout the whole year to be in this moment and then all of a sudden, this moment comes, and you’ve got two crucial games four days apart. What I feel about that is, this is what you’ve worked for, you’ve worked to be in this position.
‘I would hate to be sitting at home on Saturday and watching somebody else playing in the Champions League semi-final. That for me is the worst part when you are not in a position to compete.
‘The challenge is when you are in multiple competitions, you have got to try and re-group, recover, switch on, stay at the same level of intensity again and again. We’ve trained ourselves to do that, so we are ready for Wednesday and we are ready for Sunday.
‘The group over the course of the season has built that tolerance to cope with the loading within those games and the level of information we give them and take it in their stride.
‘I’m looking forward to it, I don’t approach this week with anything other than excitement and joy to continue to watch a group of players that have done me and the football club proud all year.’
Tomorrow’s game against Manchester City kicks-off at 6pm and is available to watch live on BT Sport.