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  • By Matthew Ferris at Cobham training ground

Chelsea boss Hayes refuses to talk about possible successor ahead of top of the table clash with City

Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes Picture: Matthew Ferris
Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes Picture: Matthew Ferris

By Matthew Ferris at Cobham

Emma Hayes was not in the mood to be drawn into any speculation surrounding Chelsea’s next head coach, despite reports that the club have entered into talks with Lyon manager Sonia Bompastor.  


When asked about the links, she said: “I think I’ve said this on numerous occasions, when the club has something to report about the head coach appointment then I’m sure there’ll deliver that but we don’t have anything to report at this moment so it would be unfair to talk about somebody under contact at another club.”  


Naturally, a host of questions about Bompastor followed, but Hayes maintained her professionalism as ever, refusing to give her opinion on whether Bompastor would be a suitable fit for Chelsea.  


“I’ll repeat myself just in case you didn’t hear me the first time, but when the club has something to talk about…at this moment in time there’s absolutely nothing to comment or report on. 


“You don’t ask me to talk about Gareth Taylor so nor should you ask about Sonia Bompastor. 


“I’m sure everybody's keen for some news to come our way. That isn’t this current time I’m afraid. Sorry.”  


The press conference mirrored that of speculation around where Hayes would go after leaving Chelsea, and even though it was all but confirmed that she would become the U.S National Team head coach, she did not want to disrespect her contract with the club, or anyone else’s.  


Hayes was adamant that her focus is solely on her own players ahead of Friday’s top of the table clash with Manchester City, even when she was asked about what to expect from Gareth Taylor’s side.  


“I want to focus on my own team; we’re in a good moment, we’re playing well and the players are getting opportunities to play, so it’s a fixture we’re looking forward to. We want to focus on what we do not what they do.”  


The Blues will however be boosted by the return of Lauren James, who has recovered from an illness that ruled her out of the FA Cup tie at the last minute against Crystal Palace. Millie Bright is also edging closer to a return, but that will be after the international break. 


Hayes admitted that her squad is looking forward to the match, especially after a run of games against teams that have been well organised, set up in a low defensive block.  


“You know when we play top WSL teams you go toe to toe so it’s a much different game, so it’s about winning. In training this week we’ve been focused on how to get into good positions and most importantly execute [our plans].”  


The game has the feel of a title decider, especially considering the current form both clubs are in.  


Both sides are aiming for their 11th consecutive win in all competitions, but Hayes believes there are more determining factors that decide who comes out on top in the title race.  


“I’ve always said for many years, the team that’s in the Champions League for the latter stages, is in the least advantageous position to win the league, go and look at our calendar in March and April, you’ll see we’ve got a game every three days until the end. 


“We’re competing on all fronts, of course it’s where we want to be but don’t think for one minute that that volume of games puts us in an advantage whether we win or not on Friday.”  


Although she doesn’t like to be reminded, the quadruple is still on for Chelsea, but Hayes’ caution surrounding the number of games her side have to play is justified.  


They have already lost Sam Kerr to injury, and while they have signed a replacement in Mayra Ramirez, the chaotic run of fixtures will undoubtedly put a strain on Chelsea’s squad despite its depth and size. 

Right now though, she thinks Chelsea “are exactly where we want to be.”  


She said: “We have to take care of the right things in the right moments tomorrow. 

"There isn’t much to separate [the teams] and our concentration and focus is to take one game at a time because if you start to look at the bigger picture or winning the title or all of those things, before you know it it’s run away from you.”  


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