Emma Hayes has won her fourth Women’s Super League title as Chelsea manager in the space of six seasons. This campaign has already yielded a domestic double after Continental Cup success preceded the WSL title and could yet finish with an unbelievable quadruple ahead of next weekend’s Champions League final and continued involvement in the delayed FA Cup.
Hayes is delighted at winning the WSL again, retaining the title from last season, even calling it her favourite triumph so far because of the huge threat posed by an exceptional Manchester City.
But it is her reaction to that success which will be a huge driving force for the general mentality of top flight women’s football in both the immediate future and beyond.
“The winning – we don’t tire of it,” Hayes reflected after Chelsea were presented with the trophy.
She also has no regrets over working the players hard in tremendously difficult circumstances over the past year and refuses to apologise if she cannot keep everyone in the squad happy all the time because of the fierce competition for places and the necessity for strength in depth.
It is an attitude that hasn’t always been prevalent in women’s football when the aim for many clubs and players was more focused on survival first. Now that the game has moved on to a more sustainable level where all WSL teams are fully professional, thriving is the next step.
As already seen over the last few years, Chelsea are not here to win once and bask in their achievement. The 2020/21 WSL title is just the latest chapter in a story that is far from finished and if the Champions League trophy is also added to the trophy case next week, nothing will change.
In her comments about winning, Hayes has already laid down the domestic gauntlet for next season for Manchester City to try again. Arsenal will hope to be back in the title mix, while Manchester United will also expect to improve and get nearer next time as well.
The heightened competition is what she wants because it makes the success mean more. By setting the standard and always striving for more, it challenges the rest to try harder in an effort to bring them down, making the challenge for Hayes and Chelsea to try and always stay one step ahead.