Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes says her team must not dwell on the past ahead of the Blues' Vitality Women’s FA Cup semi-final encounter against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.

We face Carla Ward’s Aston Villa side for the second game in a row having travelled to the Poundland Bescot Stadium in the Women’s Super League prior to the international break. Goals from Jelena Cankovic, Guro Reiten and Sam Kerr helped us to a 3-0 victory that night.

The players returned from the international break on Friday and reported to our Cobham training base where preparations got underway for the trip north, where we will be looking to book our place in the showpiece final against Manchester United at Wembley next month.

Kick-off against Villa is 2.15pm and the game is live on BBC One.

Hayes has enjoyed four FA Cup triumphs during her time at the club and despite this level of success, she was quick to stress the value of focusing on the task in hand while not getting carried away with past achievements.

‘It’s a special competition, particularly for every English person,’ Hayes remarked. 'I grew up with it being a competition you try to replicate out on the football pitch yourself. It’s also a competition that we as a team have done very well in, so of course we have special memories. We also know how hard it is when you think about all the struggles to lift that trophy, none of it has been easy.

‘The most important thing for us as a team is not to think about that part, we have to think about getting there. We’re playing a very good team. We can’t think too much about the past and stay as present as possible on Sunday.’

Our opponents Aston Villa have enjoyed a successful season to date and occupy fifth position in the league table. Hayes highlighted the good work being done by manager Ward and believes Sunday’s opponents have the potential to challenge for a top-four spot.

‘Carla has done a great job. She has built a team that against the top teams have been very efficient particularly from set-pieces and transition. The next step for them will be how do you be even more than that and she will know that. She’ll have to keep improving her squad to do that.

‘They’ve had an amazing season so far and their performances have been consistent throughout. I could see Aston Villa very much taking the step next year to compete for top four.’

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