Emma Hayes spoke to the media at Cobham this afternoon as Chelsea FC Women aim to secure the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title.
The Blues host Manchester United at Kingsmeadow on Sunday and a win for Hayes’ side would secure a record-breaking third consecutive WSL title.
Speaking in person at the press conference in Cobham, Hayes said: ‘We take everything in small chunks, daily chunks to build towards a game, and I don’t think this game has any different impact on us than if it was a week before or a week prior to that.
‘We’ve had to win every game so it’s easy for us in our mindset. But, you have to build towards it; you have to train properly, you have to recover properly, you have to prepare your mindset and all of that energy to be spent on game day, not in days leading up to it and our squad does really, really well at managing that.’
This year’s title race has seen Chelsea and Arsenal go toe-to-toe for the silverware, with the Gunners sitting in top spot for a majority of the season following their win over the Blues on the opening day.
Speaking on the rivalry between the two sides, Hayes added: ‘It’s just Arsenal this year, last year it was City. Jonas [Eidevall] has been a brilliant addition to the league in terms of raising the standards for Arsenal and putting them in a front-footed position to compete for the title.
‘We want to go into the last day, not only in the position we’re in, but having to win the title on that day. Top competitors, that’s actually what they [the players] want. They don’t want the easy wins, you want the tough rides and we want to be in the position against a team who I rate highly.’
The boss is full of praise for Marc Skinner and his side and she is expecting a tough test at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
‘I respect the work Marc’s doing there, I think he’s had an amazing year as a manager. I’m in the place I want to be, and the team are in the place they want to be; we win, we’re champions. All I’m focusing on is doing everything possible to get that done on Sunday.
‘Trust me, their fans will make it difficult for us.’
The boss revealed she has a fully fit squad ahead of the final day, minus Fran Kirby. The Blues have had an injury-ravaged season and Hayes reflected on what a challenging year it has been for her players.
‘We lost Magda Eriksson for three months, Pernille Harder for large chunks, Fran for large chunks, the girls at the Asia Cup for large chunks, Melanie Leupolz, Maren Mjelde! We expected Maren to be back last August, we had planned for Maren to be back.. huge losses! My question is how many top teams would’ve coped with that? That’s why I talk about it.
‘To name a few I think you’ve seen Guro [Reiten] have an amazing year this year, not just Sam, not just Pernille. The reliance on goals from Fran and Sam in the first half of the season was extraordinary and the team had to find goals differently and we did. We got better defensively through that period, we got more versatile.’
Hayes also described her love for the club and what it would mean to celebrate a league title in front of fans again.
‘I love my job, I enjoy the situation but more importantly I enjoy representing a club that I absolutely adore.
‘The one thing I’ve loved about working at this club is that everything that’s been done, has been done by everything. The build at Kingsmeadow, the build of the fanbase, the marketing, the media, the commercialisation of the club. That whole one approach has put the team in a place where it can be successful on the pitch in Kingsmeadow.
‘The fortress part for me is the least important, it’s the fact that it feels like home. It’s so important to remember, we have to be mindful we still have a game to play against a top team that are looking to take points off of us.
‘This was always going to go to the last day, so, we’re ready.’
Sunday’s game against Manchester United kicks off at 12 noon. Tickets for the game are sold out however supporters can watch the match live on Sky Sports and follow all the action on our social channels @ChelseaFCW.