Chelsea manager Emma Hayes hailed the guts and determination shown by her side in their Vitality Women’s FA Cup final victory over Manchester City at Wembley this afternoon.
The Blues twice took the lead but on both occasions The Cityzens fought back as the game ended 2-2 after normal time. Sam Kerr struck the winning goal in the first period of extra-time as Chelsea retained the Vitality Women’s FA Cup for another season.
When speaking in the post-match press conference, Chelsea boss Hayes said that she was pleased with what turned out to be a really gutsy performance from her side.
“I’m so happy, I really am, that was so amazing for the women’s game,” Hayes said. “It was two teams who respect each other so much going toe-to-toe – us taking the lead, them equalising, us taking the lead, them equalising then finding the winner, it was so gutsy.
“I loved the game plan, I thought it was really aggressive but we had to grind, we had to work. I thought we stopped Man City’s momentum in the way that we pressed but it meant that we had to suffer.
“There was a lot of cramping and groin strains and everything else but to dig it out in extra-time didn’t surprise me. I told the players before extra-time that I knew which team would be the winning team and I stepped out the huddle for a moment and the players took control, it was completely calm and it was leadership at the highest level. It’s not easy to build an environment where it is not about one person, me, making the decisions, it is about the team as a whole buying into what it takes to win as a team.
“It’s not always pretty, I think Man City are a top team but I think they underestimated us today and I think after losing the Continental League Cup final, we had a point to prove and we did really well with that.”
Games between Chelsea and Manchester City are never dull and this game turned out to be another classic. Hayes again reiterated how much she enjoys games against The Cityzens.
She said “I love these games, I love playing Man City and Man City love playing us. It is football at the highest level, tactically, both teams have their strengths. I thought we did enough because we stopped their game the way that I’ve seen them control games. I thought we were bold, really bold and for that reason, that’s why I think we were the winning team.”
Chelsea have now won back-to-back Vitality Women’s FA Cup finals with The Blues having also defeated Arsenal 3-0 at Wembley in the 2021 final.