Emma Hayes: Chelsea Ladies can bounce back from European loss in FA Cup final

Chelsea Ladies boss Emma Hayes insists her team are ready to bounce back from their European disappointment in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

The Blues lost the second leg of their Champions League semi-final 2-0 at Wolfsburg last weekend to bow out 5-1 on aggregate.

However, they remain on course for a domestic league and cup double, starting against Arsenal Women in front of a record crowd of more than 40,000 at Wembley.

“The girls responded in the way they do every week,” said Hayes.

“The club is now accustomed to competing for honours on all fronts so it’s business as usual. We treated every game this season like a cup final, so it’s no different.”

Arsenal are looking to lift a 15th FA Cup while Chelsea have won just one, in 2015, and lost in the final to the Gunners a year later.

But Hayes’ side lie three points clear at the top of the Women’s Super League and four ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal.

“The key is we’ve become a consistent team,” added Hayes.

“We may not be seen as cup specialists but we have been consistent all season which is a great position to be in as a manager, to lead such a competent team.

“I think if you’d said we’d be in a Champions League semi-final, an FA Cup final and top of the league with four games to go I would have taken that.

“The league has got tight due to the hectic scheduling, but that experience and the tough Champions League campaign has set us up for this big game.

“We seem to have big games twice a month, so it’s something we are relishing.

“Arsenal in the last five years and beyond have a tradition of being cup specialists, but for us it’s the league campaign as well.

“We know they have got big-game players used to performing on the biggest stage. That’s why cup finals are levellers, it’s not about league form but who shows up on the day.”

Hayes will not be leading the team out at the national stadium but she has a good excuse as she is 33 weeks pregnant with twins.

“I’d feel quite vulnerable walking out with all those cameras,” she said.

“There is enough stress on those days, I don’t need any more. I just have to be sensible, at this stage in pregnancy you have to take the fewest risks possible.

“But my doctor would agree that keeping me away from the game would be far riskier.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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