Emma Hayes: WSL title won't define my Chelsea tenure

  • Emma Hayes will take charge of her final Chelsea game on Saturday against Manchester United
  • The WSL title race has gone right to the wire with either Chelsea or Manchester City set to be crowned champions
  • Chelsea can win a fifth consecutive league title but Hayes insists it won't define her tenure
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes will be leaving the club at the end of the season
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes will be leaving the club at the end of the season / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes insists the pressure is off and winning another Women's Super League title on Saturday will not define her tenure at the club.

Hayes shocked the world of women's football in early November when she announced she would be leaving the club at the end of the season. After more than a decade in the Chelsea dugout, she represents one of the most successful managers in the English women's game.

However, the farewell tour hasn't quite gone to plan for the team as they were beaten in the Conti Cup final by Arsenal earlier this year and were knocked out by Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals. In the Champions League, Barcelona once again ended their hopes of European glory with a 2-1 aggregate win in the semi-finals of the competition last month.

Chelsea, though, can end the season with a trophy and give Hayes the send-off she deserves. They narrowly lead Manchester City at the top of the table, but only on goal difference. 90 minutes against United is all that stands in their way, while Gareth Taylor's side take on Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Regardless of what happens on Saturday, Hayes insists she's proud of what the team have achieved, not just this season, but over the years. A fifth consecutive league title would be historic, but the Chelsea boss knows her legacy extends way beyond that.

"No matter the outcome tomorrow, I'm excited," she told the media in her final press conference on Friday, "I'm just extremely proud of the efforts of everyone to put us in this position."

"We're accustomed to being in this position," she added. "Everybody knows what's at stake but we've had a lot of winning, so I don't really think the pressure is on us. Of course, I'd love to leave with another title but it definitely won't define my tenure here. We've always had the resilience to be at the top end come the business end of the season."

Melanie Leupolz
Chelsea celebrate the 2022/23 WSL title on the final day of the season in May 2023 / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Hayes carried out her final press conference as Chelsea boss with her son, Harry, in the room with the media on what is his sixth birthday. The manager will embark on a new chapter in her career when she takes charge of the United States Women's National team this summer.

It will be, without a doubt, an emotional end to the season whatever happens at Old Trafford and Villa Park respectively. For Hayes, however, it will be business as usual until the final whistle is blown.

"We all know that I'm the sort of coach that wants to be as professional as I can to the end," she continued. "All the attention and focus is on getting the team ready today.

"I had my last drive into work, my office is already cleared out, it's my last coaching session with a group of people who I have built strong bonds with. I wouldn't change a single thing and I am so delighted to get one more training session with my team and one more game and I know for sure we're going to enjoy it."