Emma Hayes: ‘I’ve had time to look at my star’ after Conti Cup controversy

Two weeks have passed since Emma Hayes’ post-match comments stole the limelight after Arsenal saw off Chelsea to claim a hard-fought Conti Cup victory at Molineux. The Chelsea manager faced the media for the first time since the incident on Friday, and offered an insight into how she reflects on her comments.

Hayes told reporters shortly after the final whistle at Molineux that Jonas Eidevall’s ‘male aggression’ was unacceptable and doesn’t have a place in women’s football, with the claims labelled ‘irresponsible’ by the Arsenal boss.

On Friday, Hayes explained: ‘My son said to me after the game, “when you push someone in school you’re asked to go and take time out.” I said to him: “you know what, you can’t meet aggression with aggression. All you can do is tell the teacher. All you can do is go and explain to the teacher why you think something is unfair.” ‘I said “even if the parents go to the teacher, that’s all you can do. You cannot meet aggression with aggression.”’

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Quizzed as to whether she would retrospectively have acted differently during the match or in her press conference, Hayes opted to recite a 1943 poem from Robert Frost. ‘So when at times the mob is swayed, to carry praise or blame too far,’ Hayes proclaimed, ‘we may choose something like a star, to stay our minds on and be staid.’

Hayes batted away a number of further questions on the topic, urging reporters to instead focus on this weekend’s Adobe Women’s FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United. The Chelsea boss was asked if she could understand the intense scrutiny she has come under over the course of the last fortnight, responding: ‘Of course, that’s what you’re paid to do, I totally understand that. As I’ve said already, of course it’s not right to meet aggression with aggression.’

‘I can only control my own behaviours and I’ve reflected on that. Next time I just need to listen to my son’s advice. I need to go to the teacher if I’ve got anything to say.’