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Hayes: We have confidence, everyone is chipping in with goals

Emma Hayes Picture: Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan

Emma Hayes reckons she doesn’t know her team  yet for Sunday’s FA Cup Final against Manchester United at Wembley.

Following Wednesday's 6-0 drubbing of Leicester City in the  WSL which puts her charges one point behind United with a game in hand, Hayes said: “I know what I’m doing for Sunday, not that I’ve picked my team.

“I haven’t thought about that - it’s the strategy first. But the team are playing well.”

It’s of course a classic deflection of not wanting to reveal too much to the opponent but her team selection against Leicester gave a clear indication that at least one player will be in the starting 11.

Striker Sam Kerr stayed on the bench on Wednesday, did not even get up for a run around on the sideline.

This was Hayes telling her star forward, ‘take it easy, save your energy for the task ahead’.

Hayes said of Kerr: “I didn’t have to play Sam. I’ve needed that for a long time - she has had to carry the front line for almost the whole season.”

The reason why she can rest the Australian is the emergence from a long hamstring injury of Pernille Harder.

The Norway striker hit a brace against the Foxes as she made her first start since November.

Hayes confirmed: “Having Pernille come back has allowed us to have the luxury to leave Sam out.

"We have missed Harder and [Fran] Kirby for the vast majority of the season that has an impact on the team.“

[Jelana] Cankovic and others are new. They need time to grow into a team like Chelsea.

“We have had to find ways to win without being syncillating.

“I’ve always said that that Barcelona second leg will give us confidence. It’s a shame we didn’t perform in the home leg as we did in the second, it might have been a different outcome.

“But everybody is chipping in now [with goals], and that's what's been needed.”

Hayes is in a good place now, she senses her players are coming into form at the right time of the season.

“Confidence is key,” she said. “We like our momentum.”

Hayes has been at the club 10 years and is just now coming to terms as to build a successful team and sustain it - how do deal with adversities - something the men’s management  could take note of.

She said: “Every season, we play 52 games, we are used to it now,

“People talk to me about other teams having injuries, but no team has played more games than us  in the last five years - we don’t have the same number of high-level injuries, the biggest injuries.

“This isn’t about playing too many games I don’t believe that - it’s how you manage your players, their loading, the international calendars.

“The World Cup being in the wrong time, they should be in June like the men.

“But we have a culture of being able to prepare a squad over a whole year, so that we can compete for 52 games and not 32 games.

“It’s taken a lot of learning to get to that place, and for us to be in the hunt for two trophies, at this stage, that’s not easy, it’s a credit to the staff and players to be in that place.

“It shows how all the hidden work that people outside the club don’t see, pays off for us.”

Men’s caretaker boss Frank Lampard will hope to get his first win at home, on Saturday, in his

second stint at Stamford Bridge. He has lost five of the six games in charge. The Blues face relegation-haunted Nottingham Forest,


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