Emma Hayes faced the media for a press conference this afternoon prior to Chelsea FC Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup semi-final clash with West Ham tomorrow.
While speaking to the media via Zoom at Cobham, Hayes spoke about her ambitions of retaining the Continental Cup.‘It’s massively important, the Continental Cup is a cup that we are holders of and I’m desperate to get through to another final,' she said.‘I know the girls are in a really good place, we’re starting to produce some great performances, the squad is doing really well. Everybody knows what my ambition is and I’ve got players that mirror that. The successive winning is one of the hardest things to achieve.‘But I’ve got world-class players throughout this squad, they are malleable, they are adaptable and it’s wonderful tactically to work with players that can adjust quickly.’
When asked about her expectations of West Ham, the Chelsea boss insisted she will not take them lightly and explained the qualities that our opposition hold.‘We know it’s a derby, it will be a really tough game, I’ve watched West Ham under their new manager and I know they will provide a very stern test for me.‘They are a big team, they are good from set-pieces, they are aggressive in the second balls. They are direct in their play, they get numbers around and are going to make it hard.‘It’s going to be a scrap first and foremost and I told my players today that playing against West Ham or any other London rival in a one-off moment has nothing to do with league form. We have to be switched on because this is no easy game.‘We’ve lost a lot of semi-finals so I’m reminded of being in this position and there is nothing worse than being in a semi-final and losing out.‘I’ve got so many memories of being in this situation, it’s the worst place to be in. It’s their cup final, it’s our cup final tomorrow and I know both sets of dressing rooms will treat it as the one-off that it is.’Hayes confirmed that injured players have returned to full fitness and that she has her whole squad to select from ahead of tomorrow’s cup clash.‘I have got a full quota, I don’t have any injuries. Erin Cuthbert is back, Jess Carter is back, I’ve got a full glut of players to pick from so I’ve got even more selection problems as a result.’
Following on from reports in the media that Hayes is on the shortlist to become the next manager of AFC Wimbledon’s men's team, the Blues boss commented on the speculation linking her to the League One side.‘Well first of all, I think it’s important that we talk about my game tomorrow. I’m the manager of Chelsea, I manage and represent elite and world-class players and this for me is an amazing job that I’ve spent nine years cultivating all my energy into.‘I’m not looking for another job, I’m blessed with working with wonderful humans day in day out and it’s important for me to say this – when the football world is ready to adhere to the diversity codes so that BAME communities plus women get the opportunities in football then I’ll see that as a step forward.‘This is not a conversation about Emma Hayes and AFC Wimbledon but we should be having larger conversations about creating opportunities across the diverse spectrum so that opportunities in the men’s game are not as limited to those in the privileged positions.‘My privilege is what I do for Chelsea and my focus is firmly on what I do tomorrow night against West Ham.‘I just don’t know why anyone would think women’s football is a step down, and coaching champions and players who have represented their countries in the Olympics or that European Championship is a step down from anything.‘The football world needs to wake up and recognise that while the game is played by a different gender, it’s exactly the same sport and the qualities involved in having to manage that is exactly the same as it would be to a men’s team.‘The football world needs to live by its promises and live by the diversity codes and be in the position where they are promising opportunities for the less privilege. That’s for me what I’d like to see.’