Emma Hayes believes she was “born to win on behalf of Chelsea” with the Blues able to secure a fifth WSL title against Manchester United, live on Sky Sports Football.
Chelsea lead Arsenal, who travel to West Ham, by a point heading into the final round of fixtures on Sunday knowing a draw or even defeat would be enough to clinch a third consecutive title should the Gunners fail to win.
But Hayes has stressed the pressure is off in their quest to finish the job themselves by beating Man Utd for the club’s 11th major trophy during her reign.
Sunday 8th May 11:00am
“I’m from a council estate, pressure was putting money on the table to pay the bills as a child, this is not pressure,” Hayes said in her pre-match press conference.
“Look at the inflation, the rising costs for people to pay their bills. Football is far from pressure, this is a joy. I love my job. I enjoy the situation but more importantly I enjoy representing a club I absolutely adore.
“To be in a position where we can continue to win on behalf of Chelsea is something I think I was born for. There’s no pressure to the situation, there is just maybe a wiser, older coach who is enjoying it a little more perhaps than in the past.
“We take everything in small, daily chunks to build towards a game and I don’t think this game has any different impact on us to the week before or the week prior to that because we’ve had to win every game.
“It’s easy for us in our mindset to know we have to do that but you have to build towards it. You have to train properly, recover properly, prepare your mindset and all of that energy to be spent on game day. I think our squad do really well in managing that.”
Chelsea have kept the same routine this week in preparing for the game with Hayes praising the professionalism of her players.
She said: “Nothing changes. Do you prepare differently for your press conference at Bristol next week for instance? I know you prepare the same way because you’re a top pro otherwise you wouldn’t work for Sky, right?
“It’s exactly the same for us. That takes a lot of work on self-regulation over a long period of time. The work we do in-house over a long time is to make sure players understand that being a professional is not a Mercedes Benz and a washbag.
“In the women’s game, women’s teams have had to learn what a top professional is. We’re fortunate enough to have a lot of them in the dressing room who have had to learn whether that’s through different championships, losses, situations, that sentiment is shared across the board.
Watch Chelsea vs Man Utd live on Sky Sports on Sunday
As the title race heads to the final day, watch Chelsea vs Manchester United live from 11am on Sky Sports Football, Main Event and Showcase.
Kelly Smith, Karen Carney and Sue Smith will join Caroline Barker live from Kingsmeadow.
Also follow all the latest from across the WSL on Sky Sports’ digital platforms, including in-game clips from Chelsea vs Man Utd, with match highlights from midnight.
“We want to go into the last day not only in the position we’re in but having to win a title on that day. Top competitors want that, they don’t want the easy wins, they want the tough rides. We want to be in the position against a team who I rate highly and respect the work Mark is doing there, he’s had an amazing year as a manager. We’re in the place we want to be: we win, we’re champions.”
Eidevall: Our focus is on us
Arsenal sent the WSL title race to the final day of the season after beating Tottenham 3-0 in the north London derby at the Emirates on Thursday.
They take on sixth-placed West Ham knowing a point would be enough to snatch the title if Chelsea were to lose at United.
But head coach Jonas Eidevall, who signed a new contract to keep him at Arsenal until the end of the 2023-24 season, is only focusing on what his side will do.
He said: “I feel the players are very focused on how we are playing and they have been that all the way since the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. Our focus is on us to perform against West Ham and that’s the only thing we can control.
“We know there are some scenarios that could be of interest to us knowing the result then we’ll make sure the information gets to us on the bench.”
Eidevall also admitted he will be a Man Utd fan for the day.
“I really hope Man Utd can win, I would be lying saying anything else,” he said. “I really hope Man Utd can finish off in the style their season deserves. I think they’ve been a really top team and proved difficult to many teams, I hope they can prove that one final time this season.
“It’s always the problem in football that if we win against West Ham and never found out the result in the Chelsea game, how would we value the season? Would it be a success or failure?
Final day fixtures in the WSL – all games kick-off at 12pm
- Aston Villa v Birmingham
- Brighton v Everton
- Chelsea vs Man Utd
- Reading vs Manchester City
- Tottenham v Leicester
- West Ham v Arsenal
“Whatever happens in the Chelsea match it doesn’t change how we have played this year. The only thing that changes it is what we do against West Ham.
“West Ham will be a tough opponent. They will press us high, give us little time on the ball and we need to be mentally ready for that.”