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  • By Matthew Ferris at Cobham Training Ground

Chelsea boss Hayes reckons Everton will be tough but love playing at Kingsmeadow

By Matthew Ferris st Cobham

Emma Hayes was fully aware of the challenge that Chelsea face against Everton this weekend as she looked ahead to The Blues’ match at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.

Hayes, who has been nominated for the Manager of the Month award, said: “We often play against teams like [Everton],

They consistently play 5-3-2, so we have to spend so much time preparing against teams sitting in in a certain way which is actually really hard.

“They’re one of the best build up teams in the league; they keep the ball really well in spaces, but for us, to focus our attention back on the league is important.”

Chelsea’s run of form has been relentless having won their last seven games.

While the start to the season was a little slow in terms of performances, the process to get to this stage is one that Hayes believes has been a natural one.

“When you’re drilling ideas and patterns sometimes it takes a bit of time to pay off in a bigger way; there’s a lot of confidence in the performances.

“I can see that everyone’s really clear on their roles and expectations, and they’re really delivering.”

Half the battle for Hayes has been giving all of her players the minutes they deserve, because of the current depth that she believes is the best Chelsea have ever had.

“Everyone’s an international player here, so of course they want to play every week, but our training is ultra-competitive, and I’ve said it many times but I’m really generous with playing time.

“It’s not about how many minutes you get, it’s about making your minutes count and that’s the message I keep giving the players.”

Four games in the next 12 days will surely provide ample room for squad rotation, and after the 4-0 win at Paris FC on Tuesday, there will definitely be some players in need of a rest.

Hayes, though, does not buy into the idea that her squad will have upped their level amid the talk from some players in the last week about wanting to give Hayes a good send off.

“I don’t believe they’re giving any more than they would ordinarily give – I think they’re professionals and they’re competitors, everybody has to be at it.”

The away game against Everton was the first match after Hayes announced her departure, but even with the end of her tenure drawing closer, Hayes is still involved with some of the early plans for next season.

“It’s business as usual, when you get to January, you’re already planning for pre-season, so everybody in the staff, the team around…so all of that is being worked on.

“One thing we have done really well over this time is make sure the club as a whole operates regardless in exactly the same way, so of course we’re preparing, just without me.”

For Chelsea though, four games in a row at Kingsmeadow represents a welcome return home after a host of games at Stamford Bridge, which is something Hayes is going to cherish.

“It’s going to be nice not to travel and nice to be home with our fans; we love Kingsmeado, Of course we’re very excited and it’s a brilliant pitch.

“I know the players absolutely love being there.”



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