The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Hayes: Quitting is not selfish. It’s selfless – I need time with my son


Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has emphasised the importance of time with her five-year-old son as the Blues head into their first match since announcing she is to depart at the end of the season.

The west London outfit made the announceme­nt last weekend, saying Hayes – linked with the vacant United States national team job – would “pursue a new opportunit­y outside of the Women’s Super League and club football”.

Ahead of today’s league trip to Everton, she said the “time is right” to move on, while also refusing to be drawn on what the next step might be.

And Hayes, who has been in charge at Chelsea since 2011 and guided them to six WSL titles, five FA Cups and a Champions League final, said: “I’ve taken this team to the top and I always said I wanted to leave at the top, and I maintain that.

“My little boy has been extraordin­ary to allow me to do (this job), but it’s important for him.

“There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in the women’s game for people with children.

“I shouldn’t just limit that – it’s people with children. We have lives and I have to think about others.

“This is not a selfish decision, it’s a selfless decision. It’s about putting first other things in my life and I’m ready for that.”

Hayes hopes to create a succession to replace her – in much the same way as she has created different teams during her tenure as manager.

She said: “The time is right but I will do everything I can to make sure there is as good a transition as possible so my successor can have the same level of success as I can.”

Hayes insisted her focus will stay on Chelsea until she walks out of the door – starting with Everton today.

She said: “You dedicate so many hours to this job and I’ve given it everything I can,” added Hayes.

“I’ve had to evaluate that and factor it in. Anything I’m going to do, I want to do it well, but maybe it’s about just having something different more than anything else.

“I would struggle going backwards at any point or out-staying my welcome. Those things plague me.

“It’s not actually an easy thing to do to leave at the top with a world-class team, but I always made the promise to myself that I would do that.”

She faces an Everton team that has suffered a few heavy defeats, but her opposite number Brian Sorensen defended his side’s recent performanc­es despite having won just once in seven games this season.

The dismal run has featured 5-0 and 7-0 defeats to Manchester United.

But Sorensen insisted: “No I’m not (feeling the pressure). Performanc­es have been better than the one win so we have to look at that.

“The two big losses against United

Emma Hayes has announced she is leaving after trailblazi­ng reign at Chelsea.

is not something that we want. But it’s done, it’s history. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Chelsea, pursuing a fifth successive league crown, top the table after winning 6-0 at Aston Villa last Saturday.

The four teams immediatel­y below them are all three points behind, a pack headed by Manchester City, who lost 2-1 at fifth-placed Arsenal the following day.

The aftermath of that game included City manager Gareth Taylor accusing Gunners counterpar­t Jonas Eidevall of “bullying” the fourth official – a claim the Swede subsequent­ly rejected and called “borderline slander”.

The match itself was settled by an 87th-minute Stina Blacksteni­us finish that came about when City’s 19-year-old goalkeeper Khiara Keating misjudged a ball from Katie McCabe.

Keating – who had earlier saved a Kim Little penalty awarded for her foul on Cloe Lacasse – last month received her first call-up to the England squad.

City are at home to Brighton today and Taylor said: “She’s an amazing prospect, a very good goalkeeper. We see loads of mileage in terms of where she can go to with her game.

“We back her. These things happen, they will happen again unfortunat­ely. But

I think her reaction after the goal went in was amazing, for that remainder of the game.

“Then obviously once we know the game is done, that’s when the emotion sets in a little bit.

“But she’s been good this week.” Arsenal go to Leicester after beating Bristol City 3-1 in the League Cup on Thursday, while the teams currently lying third and fourth, Tottenham and Liverpool, meet in a crucial clash at Brisbane Road.

Manchester United, who sit a point further back in sixth place after drawing 2-2 at Brighton last weekend, host West Ham, while the final game sees Villa go to Bristol City – a clash between the division’s bottom two sides.

While the promoted Robins claimed their first points of the season by winning 3-2 at West Ham last Sunday, Villa’s hammering at the hands of Chelsea made it five losses from as many games.

Defiant boss Carla Ward still believes they are playing well and results will come. She said: “You have to navigate these moments, you have to learn from them. You have to stick together, most importantl­y.

“My job is to remind them of how good they are and their qualities.”

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