Monday, May 29, 2023

Emma Hayes: Wembley sell-out for Women’s FA Cup final ‘the new norm’

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 May 2023


Emma Hayes believes a Wembley sell-out for Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup final is “the new norm”.

Defending champions Chelsea will take on Manchester United in front of an expected 90,000-strong crowd – a record for a women’s domestic club match.

This season has seen many milestones hit in terms of attendances in the Women’s Super League, with teams capitalising on the interest created by England’s European Championship victory.

Hayes is delighted to see her hopes coming to fruition, saying at a pre-match press conference: “Having a sold-out Wembley is just fantastic for the game.

“As a women’s football fan, it means everything to me. I’ve sat here for over 10 years pushing, probing and championing for this because I knew that this day wasn’t too far away.

“With the success of the Lionesses, I knew that there would be no excuses now and I think this is the new norm.”

Chelsea and United are going head to head in league and cup, with the latter looking to win the first major trophy in their short history, while Hayes’ side are bidding to make it a hat-trick of FA Cup titles.

The Blues head to Wembley having closed the gap on United at the top of the WSL table to one point with a game in hand thanks to Wednesday’s 6-0 victory over Leicester, which followed a 7-0 success against Everton.

Chelsea won both of their league meetings against United this season, and Hayes is buoyed by a clean bill of health, including key striker Sam Kerr, who was an unused substitute in midweek after going off early last weekend.

“We’re in good shape and we’re looking healthy,” said the Chelsea boss.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t just pick a team of 11 players, it’s about a squad and we like to mix things up in training throughout the week.

“We believe in developing players and developing those combinations, and it’s fair to say the entire squad is at their best level, they’re all prepared, and, for that reason, it’s going to be difficult to pick a team.”


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