Emma Hayes makes shocking title admission after Liverpool loss

Speaking with a remarkable calmness after a seven-goal thriller at Prenton Park left her Chelsea side trailing the Barclays Women’s Super League leaders by six points, Emma Hayes admitted that bowing out with the league title is ‘definitely’ not going to happen.

When Hayes announced in November that she’d be stepping away from Kingsmeadow at the end of the season after twelve years with the club, Chelsea were considered favourites to achieve a stunning quadruple: the WSL, the Conti Cup, the Adobe Women’s FA Cup and the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

One by one, those trophies have slipped out of Hayes’ reach. Defeat at Molineux saw Arsenal clinch the Conti Cup, and when the Blues fell to their first-ever defeat against Manchester United in early April, hopes of securing another FA Cup title faded away too.

But the last week has potentially been the hardest for Hayes and her Chelsea side to fathom. On Saturday, the 47-year-old was left berating ‘the worst decision in Women’s Champions League history’ after Kadeisha Buchanan’s dismissal in the second leg of their semifinal against Barcelona, with the Catalan giants going on to claim a 2-1 aggregate victory.

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And so, from that point onwards, Chelsea’s dreams of seeing Hayes out on a high lay solely on the league. With two games in hand over Manchester City, the Blues ventured to Prenton Park on Thursday – but a 4-3 defeat left Hayes admitting that perhaps ‘it’s not to be.’

‘I think the title is done,’ she expressed in her post-match press conference. ‘Of course, mathematically it’s not, but I think the title is done. Our job between now and the end of the season is to keep pushing until the end, but I think it will be very difficult.’

‘This team has done a tremendous job in my time here to really compete and push for titles,’ added Hayes, who will take charge of the United States Women’s National Team when she leaves Chelsea.

The Blues have now conceded six goals from set-pieces this season, with half of those coming during Wednesday’s clash. Commenting on Chelsea’s exposed backline, Hayes commented: ‘I don’t know if we have ever conceded four goals in a half before – three from set-pieces is just unforgiveable. But I’m going to credit Liverpool. They wanted it, they executed their gameplan. They delivered from that and from set-pieces, they got goals.’

‘We looked exhausted but I don’t make excuses. I want to remind our fans how much success we have brought over the years. It’s not to be this year but I’m sure Chelsea will continue to be at the top of the game and it’s important that we go out in the best possible way.’