Hayes concedes WSL title to Man City


Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has conceded the Women’s Super League title after her side’s dramatic 4-3 loss to Liverpool – meaning she is set to end her historic spell at the Blues without a farewell trophy.

The Blues have endured a horrendous last month after suffering defeats in the Champions League, FA Cup semi-finals and Continental Cup final – and their season got even worse as Gemma Bonner scored an injury-time winner for Liverpool despite Chelsea equalising twice.

No WSL team has ever won the title having lost three games in a season and Hayes believes Man City, who have a six-point lead with two games left, having played a game more than Chelsea, are going to win the league this season.

“I have amazing memories of this football club and we won a lot of things and I’d love to win titles again for Chelsea. But that’s not going to be this year I’m afraid. My job now is to prepare the team for the last few games to continue to compete and enjoy.

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“We will never give up, but the title is far from us. It’s not in our hands. City deserve it, their consistency has put them in that position. We will go to the end but I don’t think the title will be heading to us this year.”

Chelsea held a 1-0 half-time lead thanks to Aggie Beever-Jones’ early opener, but the Blues conceded four second-half goals – three of them from corners – as Liverpool turned the game on its head.

Hayes refused to blame any of her players for the defeat, having seen her squad reach the latter stages of all four competitions.

“I’m not going to be harsh on the players, for years they have delivered a lot for this football club and for me,” she added.

“And I know they want to win the title, but me being me, you can’t concede three set-piece goals, four in a half and expect to win a game of football. That’s why we’re on the losing end, but I’m going to be kind on my players after everything they’ve done. I don’t want to be too harsh on them.”

Carney: Hayes is being defeatist – it’s not like her

Chelsea are now five points behind WSL leaders Manchester City with only one game in hand
Image:
Chelsea are now five points behind WSL leaders Manchester City with only one game in hand

Sky Sports pundit Karen Carney branded Hayes’ concession of the league title as “weird” and believes the Chelsea’s manager early announcement impacted her team’s end-of-season collapse.

Carney also drew comparisons between Hayes’ situation to Jurgen Klopp’s at Liverpool. Klopp announced his end-of-season exit in January and his side went from quadruple hopefuls to only being in line for one trophy.

“You’ve got games left and Arsenal still have to play City, but you’ve told the whole world it’s over, which is not like her usually. I find that quite weird. Even though I agree with her that I think it’s City’s.

“Of course they’ve had four competitions and injuries, I’ve always felt Chelsea could find a way. I didn’t feel that today.

“There’s something in the psychology of Jurgen Klopp and Emma Hayes. There are a lot of synergies, both announced they were leaving early, there is a subconscious in there that they are not going to be there. And it is unsettling.

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“It’s not ideal, you have to be happy and play football. All the noises do play issues. I do think her leaving early has been a factor for the team. For someone who has been, not flawless, but everyone has gone to her on every single topic, you can’t have a perfect ending sometimes.

“I don’t think you can ignore the elephant in the room. There are too many uncharacteristic things. It feels different, it doesn’t feel right.”

Asked if the title race is definitely over, Carney replied: “It isn’t a given no and Arsenal have a lot to say about it. I just think City have been so good.

“They have been so consistent. Alex Greenwood and Lauren Hemp have been phenomenal. Collectively, there’s the feeling again. Arsenal will make it difficult.

“But there’s a defeatist side to Chelsea already. That just says: ‘Here you go City’ and they have to grab it now.”



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