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Emma Hayes insists Chelsea have not been surprised by Man City’s resurgence ahead of FA Cup final

By Jonny Bray
The FA via Getty Images

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes insists she is not surprised by Manchester City’s stunning end of season resurgence ahead of Sunday’s Vitality Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley.

Chelsea are the current holders and hunting a historic double after securing the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title last Sunday, while City have enjoyed a superb second half of the campaign.

They sealed a spot in the top three following 13 consecutive victories in all competitions, a run that saw them finish five points ahead of rivals Manchester United in the league.

A win would wrap up a domestic double for Gareth Taylor’s side, with City having already beaten Chelsea 3-1 in the Continental League Cup Final last March.

Asked if she was shocked at City’s sudden upturn in fortunes, Chelsea boss Hayes, 45, said: “No, I am not surprised at how they have come back, not at all. Everyone in my dressing room knows how good those players are.

“If anything, we were surprised that that happened. We knew that their setbacks were temporary because everyone at Chelsea rates Manchester City.

“I think for us, last time we played City, we were depleted. But this time, we have a full-strength squad to choose from, including Fran Kirby. So, I think we’re going into it in a much better place than we were in the Continental League Cup Final.

“It is going to be tight. There is not a lot between the teams. Manchester City expect to be sitting in the top positions in the league, while we have had to play with the pressure of winning every game to win the title, so it is different pressures for different teams.”

Hayes’ side reached the FA Cup final with a 2-0 win against Arsenal, having already convincingly dispatched Birmingham City, Leicester City and Aston Villa.

City also enjoyed an entertaining Cup run this season, scoring a total of 20 goals in wins against Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Everton and West Ham.

City are aiming to win their fourth FA Cup, though this will be the first time these two sides have met in a final.

Chelsea or City have won the last five FA Cup finals, so it’s no surprise to see that Sunday’s game is one of the hottest tickets in town.

The current attendance record for a Women’s FA Cup final stands at 45,423, but the FA have announced that more than 50,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday’s clash.

And Taylor admits that he wished his friends and family could have seen his team lift the FA Cup after the 3-1 win against Everton in the 2020 final.

He said: “I think the attendance will be amazing, and it just shows that the game is moving in the right direction.

“We played in a final which was a different feel without any supporters there, so this is going to be amazing, and there is no better place for it than a full Wembley.

“For both teams to be able to celebrate with their supporters and family as well.

“I sometimes think as a coach you believe these finals are going to come around all the time, and I remember standing there and wishing that my family and friends were there but also our brilliant supporters.

“It felt great, don’t get me wrong, but it also felt empty that we could not celebrate it with the people that really care about us.”

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Dive Deeper:
Emma Hayes leads Chelsea to FA Cup victory as Cuthbert and Kerr break down resilient Man City
Hayes has secured Chelsea's second FA Cup title and it was not the easiest ride for the Blues. There is…
‘This is a chess match’: Chelsea boss Emma Hayes expecting tough Women’s FA Cup final
The Blues take on Manchester City at Wembley
Man City boss Gareth Taylor criticises scheduling for Women's FA Cup final and West Ham fixture
Manchester City Women are in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, kicking off half an hour after the…
Taylor tips Manchester City and Chelsea to ‘slug it out’ in Women’s FA Cup final
The Manchester City manager, whose team have won 13 games in a row, predicts an exciting game against the current…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Chelsea’s Sam Kerr: ‘I’m a risk taker. I love that feeling of being on the edge’
The Australian talks to Suzanne Wrack about returning to Wembley for the FA Cup final, chickening out of joining the…
Chelsea have extra motivation to make this a weekend of double FA Cup joy
Men’s and women’s teams have defied ownership turbulence to reach Wembley finals and will soon bid farewell to key players
Get all your news in one place