Teamwork makes the dream work

Chelsea hand Hayes the proper send-off with WSL title rout

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MANCHESTER — Each fairytale wants a contented ending and Emma Hayes received hers at Chelsea. A 6-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Outdated Trafford marked the proper send-off for the stalwart supervisor with a fifth-consecutive Ladies’s Tremendous League (WSL) title as she prepares to journey into the sundown and take cost of the USWNT this summer season.

After 12 years of success, it regarded like her story would finish within the worst method attainable: trophyless. Having misplaced the Conti Cup ultimate to Arsenal, crashed out of the FA Cup in opposition to United within the semifinals, and failed to carry a first-leg result in fall 2-1 to Barcelona on combination within the Champions League semifinals, the WSL title additionally regarded set to slide via Hayes’ clutches after a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool two weeks in the past.

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However there’s all the time a late plot twist and in what has arguably been the Blues’ most tumultuous season — affected by accidents, poor performances, and losses — an 8-0 win over Bristol Metropolis, coupled with a 2-1 defeat for rivals Manchester Metropolis at Arsenal the identical day, put high spot again of their fingers on aim distinction.

Forward of the ultimate matchday, Hayes bade a glassy-eyed farewell in her ultimate prematch information convention. It was not how she would have hoped the season would go, but she acknowledged that she wouldn’t change a factor and informed her gamers to play with freedom and underneath no strain. She additionally mentioned she wouldn’t be watching what Metropolis had been doing. Ultimately, there was merely no have to.

Metropolis wanted to beat Aston Villa by three targets and hope Chelsea wouldn’t win at United. However it did not take lengthy for Chelsea to take management as they made an announcement of intent from the get-go, scoring via Mayra Ramírez contained in the opening two minutes and once more six minutes later as Johanna Rytting Kaneryd skipped away to fit previous Mary Earps. Hayes’ celebrations for every aim had been emphatic, with elation etched throughout her face.

Chelsea striker Sam Kerr, who was dominated out for the season following an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in January, was up on her toes within the dugout cheering and celebrating as properly. However it felt extra than simply celebrating targets; it felt as if the Australia worldwide was revelling in the truth that her supervisor would get the send-off she so well-merited.

Satirically it was the participant signed as Kerr’s alternative who helped Chelsea recover from the road. Hayes introduced in Ramirez within the January window for a then-world document charge of €500,000, however the Colombia worldwide initially struggled following a run of accidents (lacking the important thing UWCL semifinal second leg) and had solely managed one league aim in her six video games thus far.

However right here she was practically unstoppable. After scoring a robust header for the opener, Ramirez outpaced Millie Turner with a sensational run down the fitting and drew Earps to her on the close to submit earlier than slicing the ball throughout the field for an unmarked Sjoeke Nüsken to fit dwelling the third on 44 minutes. Then, simply earlier than half-time, Ramirez bagged the fourth as she ran via a static defence to fireplace into the web.

If United thought they might get again into the sport within the second half, that was erased inside two minutes as Melanie Leupolz capitalised on a comedy of errors of their defence to make it 5-0 and the die was solid.

On the 70-minute mark, chants of “Emma, what is the rating?” had been met with Hayes grinning and sticking her hand with 5 fingers up into the air, a second that encapsulated the enjoyment and celebration of the day. The Blues nonetheless had time so as to add a sixth through all-time high scorer Fran Kirby, on instead in her final recreation after a nine-year profession on the membership, to attain her ultimate aim (No. 116). And all that was left was to rejoice.

Metropolis’s 2-1 win over Villa meant nothing as Chelsea lifted the title for the seventh time as a result of their superior aim distinction (+7). It was a ruthless, medical, and dominant show from a facet who set a document for essentially the most targets in a WSL season (71). United had been poor, little doubt fatigued after their exertions within the FA Cup ultimate win final weekend, however there was no stopping Hayes’ group.

“It is fairly particular,” Chelsea captain Millie Shiny informed Sky Sports activities. “When half the nation write you off, we all the time had a monster mentality. We received given a second likelihood however you need to take it. I feel the environment is unbelievable, we needed to have 10 out of 10 performances. The gamers had been spectacular.”

It takes a particular mentality and a particular coach to face adversity like Chelsea have this season and switch it right into a driving pressure. With all eyes on them as soon as Hayes’ exit was introduced in November, it has been a whirlwind of feelings.

“It has been an emotional week, in all probability a rollercoaster seven months,” Hayes informed the BBC afterwards. “Staying on high of your personal emotion is de facto difficult. I am simply relieved it is over.”

At occasions, many questioned whether or not the group had misplaced religion within the supervisor; some even questioned if this is able to be the tip of the domination she had unleashed over the previous 5 seasons. However she has taught this Chelsea group properly they usually knew win when it mattered most. As soon as the ultimate whistle blew at Outdated Trafford, the bottom was full of chants of “We love you, Emma” — a testomony to the impression and legacy of the beloved supervisor.

“I picked a group of leaders from the start,” she informed Sky Sports activities. “It was important we had the emotional maturity for a stadium as becoming as this. I can not say it’s my most satisfying, however it has been the hardest, for that cause in all probability the sweetest. I’m so relieved it’s over.

“I’ve nice recollections, listening to the followers, the reference to the gamers. I have not received any extra to offer, I do know that a lot. The toughest factor to do is 5 in a row as folks take their eye off the ball. My legacy is successful whereas constructing a group for the longer term.” Hayes leaves Chelsea as among the finest managers on the planet. She has formed ladies’s soccer in England, has spoken up when others didn’t, and has taken the membership to new heights, forcing her rivals to evolve to maintain tempo.

It was not the fairytale season she would have imagined when preventing for 4 trophies, however a ruthless 6-0 win to seal yet one more WSL title was the proper technique to sum up her tenure. She shall be missed.