Chelsea win WSL: Secrets of Hayes’ title successes as Blues claim fourth in row

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes was giving nothing away when she was asked to reveal the secrets of their success.

A fourth Women’s Super League title in a row was secured on Saturday with a 3-0 win at Reading in the final game of the season. It completed a league and FA Cup Double, and marked Hayes’ 14th major trophy since her arrival at the club in 2012.

Chelsea’s dominance of English women’s football has not wavered despite growing investment and competition from their challengers.

“Do you think I’m going to give away the crown jewels?” Hayes joked on Sky Sports earlier this month.

“These are the secrets to our success, so I’m not going to spill it on national TV.”

You cannot blame Hayes for keeping her cards close to her chest, because whatever it is, it is working.

Chelsea consistently compete for every trophy - they also reached the Champions League semifinals and lost in the League Cup final this year.

“I know the work that has gone on behind the scenes to get the team to where it is,” said Hayes after their victory over title rivals Arsenal last weekend.

“I just look on the pitch and all I see is the years of work in the background. The meetings, the analysis, the disagreements, the good times and the moments you’re sick of looking at each other.

“It’s all of those things, and when they come off this team has a habit of peaking when it matters.”

Attention to detail

That is perhaps Chelsea’s greatest strength under Hayes - they always turn up when it matters at the business end of the season.

As the effects of a gruelling schedule begin to take their toll on teams around them, Chelsea go up another gear.

Former Blues defender Claire Rafferty, who played under Hayes between 2012 and 2016, said it was the “commitment to small details”, such as employing a range of experts in her backroom staff, which helped give them the edge over their rivals.

“At one stage there was more staff than players,” Rafferty told.

“It was things like getting a sleep coach in to add to the physios, medical staff and massage therapist - making sure the girls had the right beds to sleep in.

“We had one-to-one nutrition help, then we looked at hormone supplements when you were on your period and monitoring training loads.

“The biggest thing for me was that [Hayes] wasn’t afraid to say: ‘I’m not an expert in this.’ We even had someone come in to almost lead the other staff so she could focus on managing the players.”






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