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Emma Hayes dedicated her team’s victory in the Women’s FA Cup final to Chelsea’s new owners as well as their supporters after admitting the the club has “suffered” this year.
Chelsea defeated Manchester United at Wembley thanks to Sam Kerr’s winner, which sealed a third consecutive FA Cup victory for the Blues. Hayes’ team could yet add a fourth consecutive Women’s Super League title if they win their three remaining fixtures.
The men’s side, meanwhile, have endured a miserable season – sacking two managers in Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter, while caretaker boss Frank Lampard has overseen just one win and one draw in eight games since taking over.
It has consigned Chelsea to a bottom-half finish in the Premier League but Hayes said the continued achievements of the women’s side have restored a sense of pride in the club, including for co-owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali of Clearlake Capital.
Hayes said: “I’m a football fan – and I’ve watched how much this club has suffered this year with the ownership changes, and the men’s team hasn’t been brilliant. Chelsea fans this is for you.
“I hope we gave you something where you could smile, owners included.”
Hayes praised the mentality of her players after a long season that has seen Chelsea battle on multiple fronts. Hayes admitted Chelsea’s first half performance was among the“worst” she had seen in the FA Cup but her side improved after the break and following the introduction of Pernille Harder and Sophie Ingle.
“Don’t underestimate how hard this is,” the manager said. “This is so impressive. We dig, and dig and dig. We grew in the second half. United a wonderful team.”
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