Belfast Telegraph

Title woe drove Chelsea women to Cup joy

By Matt McGeehan

Chelsea Ladies boss Emma Hayes believes last season's final-day league heartbreak sowed the seeds for her side's momentous Women's FA Cup success on Saturday.

The Blues lost 2-1 to Manchester City in the final fixture of the Women's Super League when a victory would have guaranteed them title glory.

Instead they finished second to Liverpool, but came back this year to win their first ever piece of major silverware as PFA Women's Player of the Year Ji So-yun scored the only goal to beat Notts County in the first final held at Wembley.

And Hayes reckons the bitter blow of last year played its part as her players wanted to bounce back and show what they are made of.

"Sometimes you have to go through the pain of losing and losing in such extreme circumstances to get to this point," she said.

"I don't know if we would have gone on if we had won the league last season and been in the same position. But what there has been with my players all season is a drive and a hunger, most importantly they won't let it go.

"We may have had a blip in our league campaign in recent games but I think that was because the FA Cup was on their mind, and understandably so. It is not every day you play at Wembley. It is about winning trophies."

Ji's goal came six minutes before half-time in front of 30,710 fans inside Wembley, an experience Hayes believes no-one at the club will forget.

"There was no way we were going to lose," she said. "Playing in front of 30,000 is something everyone is going to enjoy and I enjoyed every single moment of it. It just all came together."

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