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Conti Cup final defeat followed by FA Cup exit...

Chelsea's Emma Hayes facing a difficult 'farewell tour'

2024/04/15 17:04

Chelsea women's team manager Emma Hayes is enduring a difficult 'farewell tour' after the Blues were knocked out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage on Sunday.

Lucía García and Rachel Williams put Manchester United 2-0 ahead in the semi-final at the weekend at Leigh Sports Village with Lauren James pulling one back for the current holders. Yet despite a second half of Chelsea constantly attacking as United defended desperately, the London side couldn't find a way back into the fixture.

That result comes just a few weeks after Chelsea lost the Conti Cup final to Arsenal at Molineux with Emma Hayes having a similar high-profile final season at her club as Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool.

Both managers had a potential quadruple on their hands but have endured tough recent weeks.

While Klopp's side already wrapped up the Carabao Cup, they were recently knocked out of the FA Cup by Manchester United (much like Chelsea), slipped up in the league (although they remain just two points behind Manchester City while Hayes' Chelsea are three behind City in the WSL), and their European fate hangs in the balance.

For Liverpool, that means having to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Atalanta in Bergamo. And for Chelsea, it means facing by far the best women's club team in Europe, Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals.

@Getty /
That Conti Cup final was overshadowed to some extent by the spat between Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall and Hayes. Eidevall, who has always been an animated figure on the sidelines led to a confrontation with Erin Cuthbert, a combative midfielder who is never likely to back down.

Hayes gave Eidevall a shove after the final whistle and accused the Gunners' boss of 'male aggression' for the previous incident with Cuthbert. Eidevall said he fought such an accusation was 'irresponsible'.

The future US women's national team manager has been incredibly successful with Chelsea but she is not always known for being graceful in defeat – we can draw another parallel to Klopp here.

In the press conference before the weekend's FA Cup clash with United, Hayes responded to her critics by quoting the Robert Frost poem 'Choose Something like a Star': "So when at times the mob is swayed / To carry praise or blame too far / We may choose something like a star / To stay our minds on and be staid."

It was a strange press conference to be sure, but Hayes sounded far more steely after the United game despite seeing defeat in a second competition in as many games.

While bemoaning some refereeing decisions and her own side’s inability to get on level terms (despite 70% possession and having 26 shots in the game), she was already focused on the next game at home to Aston Villa before the return to the Champions League shortly afterwards.

"We have to get on with it, we've got a lot of games to go. As always I'm reflective on what I need to do. Everyone is competitive so of course they will be disappointed."

Hayes will need to use all of the managerial experience that got her to this stage to get her team back on track.

With Barcelona on the horizon and five more league games ahead (including a trip to Old Trafford on the final day of the season), there is a real danger that Chelsea's season could go from a potential quadruple to absolutely nothing.

That would be far from a poetic ending for Hayes' trophy-laden spell as Chelsea manager.

Emma Hayes
NameEmma Hayes
Born/Age1976-10-18(47 -yrs-old)
Job RoleManager



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2024-04-15 18h08m by lhalliday_bart
As a football fan, I can't deny the excitement of seeing two top teams battle it out in the FA Cup semi-final. But it's tough to see Emma Hayes' farewell tour at Chelsea end on a low note. Tough result for the Blues, but credit to Manchester United for defending with all they had.
2024-04-15 18h01m by ocollinsworth
Emma Hayes always gives her everything for Chelsea, but it's been a tough farewell tour for the women's team. Disappointing loss in the FA Cup semis, similar to the Conti Cup final. Tough end to a great era.
2024-04-15 17h35m by gkingsley
As a football fan, I'm disappointed to see Emma Hayes and the Chelsea women's team knocked out of the FA Cup. It's been a difficult 'farewell tour' and it's tough to see them fall short in big games. But that's football for you.
2024-04-15 17h28m by omitchellsonjones
Sad to see Emma Hayes struggling in her 'farewell tour' with Chelsea's women's team. Tough loss in the FA Cup semi-final and Conti Cup final. Tough end to a successful era.
2024-04-15 17h15m by hturnerford
As a football fan, it's heartbreaking to see Emma Hayes and Chelsea's women's team struggle in their final season together. Losing in both the FA Cup and Conti Cup finals is a tough blow, especially for a team that has been dominant for so long. But hey, even the best teams have their off days. Here's hoping they can bounce back in their remaining games and end their farewell tour on a high note.
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