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Emma Hayes dedicates Women’s FA Cup win to Chelsea’s owners after difficult season

While Chelsea’s women’s team won a third consecutive FA Cup, the men’s side are on course for a bottom-half finish in the Premier League

Jamie Braidwood
Sunday 14 May 2023 19:00 BST
(Getty Images)

Emma Hayes dedicated her team’s victory in the Women’s FA Cup final to Chelsea’s new owners as well as their supporters after admitting the club has “suffered” this year.

Chelsea defeated Manchester United at Wembley thanks to Sam Kerr’s winner, which sealed a third consecutive FA Cup victory for the Blues. Hayes’ team could yet add a fourth consecutive Women’s Super League title if they win their three remaining fixtures.

The men’s side, meanwhile, have endured a miserable season - sacking two managers in Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, while caretaker boss Frank Lampard has overseen just one win and one draw in eight games since taking over.

It has consigned Chelsea to a bottom-half finish in the Premier League but Hayes said the continued achievements of the women’s side have restored a sense of pride in the club, including for co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali of Clearlake Capital.

Hayes said: “I’m a football fan - and I’ve watched how much this club has suffered this year with the ownership changes, and the men’s team hasn’t been brilliant. Chelsea fans this is for you.

“I hope we gave you something where you could smile, owners included.”

Hayes praised the mentality of her players after a long season that has seen Chelsea battle on multiple fronts. Hayes admitted Chelsea’s first-half performance was among the“worst” she had seen in the FA Cup but her side improved after the break and following the introduction of Pernille Harder and Sophie Ingle.

“Don’t underestimate how hard this is,” the manager said. “This is so impressive. We dig, and dig and dig. We grew in the second half. United a wonderful team.

“I think our team has been in transition, with six different players in the starting line-up to last year’s final. My big thing is, ‘How can we still keep winning while transitioning?’

“So this year of trying to get as many players as many opportunities and keep developing their experiences in all areas of the pitch and to win knowing we’re in that stage, this is far and away my most memorable FA Cup final.”

Sam Kerr scored the decisive goal at Wembley (The FA via Getty Images)

It was the fifth time in nine years Chelsea have triumphed in the showpiece and another game-changing moment from Australia international Kerr, who latched on to Harder’s pinpoint pass to steer home the winner in the 68th minute.

“I’ve never coached a player like her,” said Hayes. “For a player to have such convictions, such confidence, such courage, the way she attacks everything.

“What I love about Sam is she is willing to take responsibility for the team at the top end of the pitch, but I think it’s important to mention Pernille Harder, because without Pernille Harder she wouldn’t have got that goal. So congratulations to the team, the squad.”

Additional reporting by PA

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