Emma Hayes says she wants to “put the pressure on others” after Chelsea closed the gap on WSL leaders Manchester United to a point on Wednesday night.
Champions Chelsea thrashed Leicester 6-0 in a ruthless display at Kingsmeadow to reduce the deficit between themselves and Man Utd ahead of Sunday’s sold-out FA Cup final at Wembley between the two opposite of the title.
Chelsea have a game in hand at United which means the title is in their hands, but Hayes is enjoying the new dynamic in this season’s run-in.
“I like this position, I like to put pressure on others. I don’t think I’m going to be (at the top) but it’s fun for me,” Hayes said.
“We’ve always been chasing this whole year, always one or two games behind. It’s nice to finally close the gap and now it’s about putting Man United under pressure because we’re not in the driving seat, we’re still in second..
“We have to find ways to win without shocks, but I think our confidence is very high right now. We are in the best place we have probably been all season.
“I know what I want to do for Sunday. I know exactly how we want to play, I’m happy with the whole team, the team played well.”
Hayes was delighted with Chelsea’s efficiency in bullying Leicester on Wednesday night as it brought the Blues level with United on goal difference (+42), a factor that could play a key role in the title race.
“I told the team that [being clinical] something that was lacking in our game in the early part of the season. We just didn’t convert or create the same way I knew this team would, but we did it today and we did it at the right time of the season. Let’s hope that continues for the rest. “
On the level of goal difference with Man Utd, Hayes added: “I’ll let the analysts and the boffins worry about that and whether that makes a difference. We won’t know until the end .
“I like this period of time and I think we are in a good rhythm. We will definitely go to the cup final on Sunday full of confidence.”
‘We make smart decisions’ – Eidevall on selection issues
Arsenal boosted their Champions League qualification hopes by climbing to third after Stina Blackstenius’ early brace helped them secure a 4-0 success against Brighton.
Manager Jonas Eidevall, reluctant to make excuses, was delighted with his team’s unrelenting first-half display despite having to contend with more selection difficulties as Lia Walti fell ill in the warm-up and the substitute Gio Queiroz was forced out with a hamstring problem.
“We had to take smart decisions,” he said, referring to the restricted options of the Gunners, who have five teenagers named in their matchday squad. “The first half was a solid performance.
“We kept the ball a lot and gave ourselves a margin in the second half.
“It’s challenging but that’s why we’re here. We have to deliver the best possible result. I’m not one for excuses, we have to find solutions.
“It is no coincidence that we have improved our attacking output today [former striker] Kelly Smith is a part of our coaching staff, she makes a difference in the little details.