Chelsea manager Emma Hayes understands the threats Manchester City possess and respects their world-class players ahead of their Women’s Super League clash on Sunday.
A Blues win could see them move five points clear of second-placed Manchester United and would extend their current run in the league to four straight wins.
The Chelsea boss was full of praise for Gareth Taylor’s City team, who have not lost in the WSL since falling 2-0 to her side last September.
“It’s clear they’ve been a threat, particularly in wide areas,” Hayes said. “Bunny (Khadija Shaw) has had an unbelievable season, with (Lauren) Hemp and (Chloe) Kelly… (Yui) Hasegawa; their midfield as a whole has been excellent.
“They’re a team that I think had a really, really good run after their early-season losses and they’ve got world-class international players that are capable of hurting any team and we respect them as a team and equally it’s how we present ourselves to them on Sunday.
“I’ve got a dressing room that look forward to games like this and we’ll certainly approach the game in that manner.
“Gareth’s an outstanding coach and the way his team plays is indicative of that. I always think Manchester City teams have been one of the top teams in the country for many, many years and Gareth is an outstanding coach and I look forward to coming up against him again at the weekend.”
Chelsea have embarked on a competitive run of games since their victory over Manchester United two weeks ago. Hayes’ side beat Lyon 1-0 in their Champions League quarter-final first leg and believes her side are cut out for the challenge City pose on Sunday.
“We like it busy, it’s something we’ve become accustomed to over the years,” she said. “I think the team does really well when it doesn’t have too much turnaround time. Especially with a squad of our size everybody gets to be involved and that helps and the one-game-at-a-time approach is how we always manage it and we’re just ready for the next one.”
“I have a dressing room that finds ways but we equally have to respect that the opponents are getting better year on year and you can’t have everything all of the time. So my task is just to keep finding the little margins every day. My staff and I are certainly working hard on doing that.”
Manchester City fell 2-1 to Aston Villa in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup last week and Hayes hit back at claims that the result was an upset.
“Just shows how little people know about the women’s game to make those assumptions,” she said. “I’ve said it a thousand times, everybody’s professional so why can there not be an expectation of the other teams.
“We all know the top three or four teams performing at the top end has come to be expected but everybody is putting in a lot of money in our league so the expectation should be on other teams as well as us at the top.”
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