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  • By Paul Lagan

Hayes: Reality is we made an error for the penalty and failed to take our chances

Emma Hayes Photo by Paul Lagan

Emma Hayes was understandable disappointed as her players bowed out of the Conti Cup at the semi-final stage against Manchester City last night citing missed chances and a mistake at the back that cost them dear.

“I said it all along, you have got to take your chances,” she said.

“We had three glorious chances in the first half, and we didn’t take them.

There were five chances for us, two for them and they took them.

“That’s the reality, we made an error, conceded a penalty - I think that affected the team mentally, then we are chasing.”

Chelsea had gone into the second half at 0-0 but missed a raft of chances that last season would have sailed into the back of the City net.

Within three minutes of the restart, defender Deanna Cooper made a needless challenge on striker Nikita Parris, and down she went - giving a spot kick away, which she then gleefully converted.

Hayes said: “We dominated the first half, our shape caused them problems, but the first goal is always defining in these games. They have been in every fixture that has ever been played.

“They scored with their first effort, really. The first goal is the game changer. In these games emotionally it affected them.

“Deanna Cooper has worked hard to put herself in that position [for the penalty]. She made a mistake. We have to take that as well as we do when we score goals - it happens.”

Hayes is at a loss for the lack of clinical finishing up front - a theme of this season.

“Yes, who knows?” She said.

“Look Parris takes hers, we don't take ours, that’s the difference - goals win football matches. A year ago we were converting them chances. I think it’s important to remind our players how to finish.”

Hayes believes that City had a greater advantage at Kingsmeadow in terms of preparation.

“I always valued the squad and we had three tough games in a week - they didn’t. They had an easy FA Cup match at the weekend. Do you prioritise this or Sunday - it’s always a tough one.

“I know that you cannot play the same 11 for three games in a row. I’ve learnt that if you want the same quality.”

Chelsea face City again on Sunday in the WSL1 at their Academy Stadium and Hayes is too much of a loving human being to look for revenge.

City are top of the league with the Blues in third.

“We are competitive,” she said.

“We know what we have to do. It’s not like we are unaware. We have to perform. We have to make sure we pay attention to the things that make the difference and take our chances, especially the first one.

“Revenge? That’s what people do when they are fuelled with hate. I don't have that. I’m too much of a loving human. We will prepare with a strong mentality. This group can pick themselves up, They are good at that.

“They have never let me down, no chance. They are working hard, and they try. That doesn’t always mean you succeed. As I say to all my players it’s a team game where everybody is responsible for scoring goals. I not going to put that pressure on them

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