Hayes: I’m gutted with 2-2 draw. We had to show City what champions looked like and we did that in t
Emma Hayes is gutted that her team did not finish off Manchester City, after going 2-0 behind and then clawing back to 2-2 for a fully deserved point.
Hayes summed up the game: “It was a game of mistakes by both teams and a game of missed opportunities by both teams. Therefore a 2-2 scoreline reflects that.”
Hayes added: “I’m gutted because we started the game so well, then we made mistakes, just like in midweek (against City in the Conti Cup defeat).
“Beth England had a great chance inside the box. We don't go 1-0 up. It’s the story of our season.
“And emotionally the first half was a carbon copy.
“It affected the team, they lacked confidence, did not want to get on the ball. We did not look like ourselves, we lacked aggression, we did not get around the first and second balls, and that’s what I told them at half-time. It’s not difficult, be aggressive, do what you are good at.
“We had to show them what champions looked like and we did that in the second half.
“But I can’t recall the last time we had to dig ourselves out from 2-0 down - that’s gutsy.
“You saw the quality in the second half. When we perform like that we are very difficult to beat. We just have to eliminate the first part which centred around nerves as it was a big game. But if you make mistakes at this level, you get punished.
“Nick (Cushing - City boss) will be as disappointed as I am at the same things as I am.
“The wind affected both teams. But if you have a poor first touch, I don't think the wind has anything to do with that.
“It’s tense and a lot is at stake. We relaxed our shoulders in the second half, and performed like we know we can.”
The point does nothing to help Chelsea league-wise, but it has helped Arsenal, who are now firm favourites to lift the title. Is Hayes bothered?
“I don't care, I don’t give a hoots,”she said.
“I can’t hide my disappointment with the draw, I wanted to win the game.
“I’m proud of them. We are a good, together group. But it’s a game of margins.
“This time last year we take the first chance and go 1-0 up. This year we haven’t been doing that. Then it creates an awful lot in their heads. ‘We’re missing this, we’re missing that. They take theirs’ all of a sudden you’re playing a game of emotion. That what happens in sport. For us we have to start strongly, more often. And when we get into leading positions, really put our foot down the team’s throat. We can’t afford to make errors.”
While the Blues are still in the Champions League and FA Cup, the league is their priority. With this season’s title capitulated, is Hayes thinking about what changes are needed for next season?
“I’m paid to do the job for today,” she said. “I’m always paid to do the job tomorrow.
“So recruitment or preparing for next season in terms of getting the preparation right, that thinking has started now. But that happens anyway.
“But I would say, is that for the five/six years that I have been here, the team has always competed. So that will continue. It’s just that there are more teams joining that party now.
It’s about time Arsenal joined the parade. We should not be surprised they are in their position they are.
“We should expect it of them. But you can’t win titles every single season, but you have to compete. We still have the FA Cup and Champions League to play for and the team can take that second half performance into next Sunday’s FA cup match against Arsenal. We are at home and we will put absolutely everything into it.”