Emma Hayes has two words for the Super League dynasty she has built at Chelsea: ‘bloody good.’
The Blues extended their unbeaten league run to 31 games as Pernille Harder and Fran Kirby fired them to a 2-1 win over Manchester United and sent them to the top of the table.
Chelsea haven’t lost in the top flight since January 2019, equalling Manchester City’s undefeated run between 2015 and 2017.
Hayes has been moving mountains in West London since 2012 and as they make a run at a fourth league title, took a step back to marvel at what she has built.
“When you consider the quality we have to face throughout our league, that is an unbelievable record,” said the 44-year-old.
“When I started at this club I always wanted to be the dominant force in the women’s game, growing up knowing what Arsenal were.
“It’s amazing think of Chelsea, what we’ve achieved here and continue to achieve.
“It gets harder and harder, and we are playing with a target on our back. I don’t think it’s the sort of thing you recognise until much later on how bloody good this team is.”
This is shaping up to be the most competitive title race in Barclays FA Women’s Super League history as the Blues inflicted a first defeat of the season on United, snapping a run of 15 games unbeaten.
Manchester City would have run Hayes’s side all the way last term – had the season not been completed on a points per game basis due to COVID-19.
Arsenal and United are the only teams to have taken points off Chelsea this season but Hayes has been around the block enough times not to get dragged into title talk.
“The champions are always title favourites, so it’s not anything new to us,” Hayes said.
“We’ve got a game in hand, but we have to win that. From week to week there’s an unpredictability to this league.
“I don’t let anybody run away with it, because if you start to think about two weeks’ time you forget what you have to do in the moment. Our job is to be present.”
As dominant displays like the one that downed Casey Stoney’s league leaders mount up, flying under the radar won’t be an option for the West London side.
Sam Kerr could have had a hat-trick and more as the hosts carved out a succession of first-half chances and they let fly 17 times compared to United’s five.
“I thought we should have been out of sight by half time, the chances we created,” Hayes admitted.
“Our gameplan worked, the players executed what I asked of them. Because there was so much quality in both teams it became a little bit transitional.
“One of the things that’s important against a United team is to stop the transitions. They’ve got exceptional players who can hurt you once they get beyond the back line.
“I was disappointed at 1-1, because I felt that even though they were coming back into the game, it shouldn’t have been 1-1.
“To recover from that setback, is a sign of a great team when they don’t get caught up in disappointments that happen in the moment.”