Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes believes that her side were in cruise control as they beat Arsenal Women 3-1 at Wembley to lift the SSE Women’s FA Cup.
Ramona Bachmann netted an impressive brace before top scorer Fran Kirby got her name on the scoresheet as The Blues made easy work of an Arsenal side who underperformed on the day.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, Blues boss Hayes highlighted the ease in which her side managed to secure victory.
“This is more enjoyable than first time around” said Hayes. “That was such a dominant performance.
“We dominated from the first whistle, we created chances, we were fluid and we looked like a team which have been building for a period of time.
“The goals came at the perfect time and the quality of the two goals showed the difference between the two sides.
“That’s what happens when you’ve got leaders on the biggest occasions, they show up.
“That was the most relaxed I’ve felt in a final in my career.”
Goalscorer Bachmann had netted just four times this season prior to her double and Hayes paid tribute to the Swiss international.
The Blues boss said “A member of staff came up to me before the game and said that every single shot we had taken in the warm-up had gone in.
“I’m a big believer of practice and if you are going into it with that habit, it is going to transform into something.
“Ramona Bachmann has had an outstanding season but hasn’t had the goals but big game players find solutions to that.
“I’m also pleased for Fran (Kirby) who was menacing from the front.
“I said to them both at half time that I wish they would just engage and go up against them one v one and get them inside the box and they heard something and finished with three goals of that quality.”
Chelsea conceded their only goal of the game in the the 73rd minute when Beth Mead got the better of Hannah Blundell to play in Vivianne Miedema to score and The Blues boss was unhappy with the manner of the goal.
“I was disappointed after we went 2-0 up” confessed Hayes. “I thought we sat off a bit but you have to credit the quality of Arsenal.
“I am not happy with the way that we started the game after the restart and when they made it 2-1, it left us in an unnecessary position.”
With Hayes heavily pregnant, long-serving assistant Paul Green led the team out at Wembley and he highlighted just how far the club have come in the space of just five years.
“I think you can see that over the past five years we have been building the project year-on-year and we are now a top class side” added Green.
“We are in the top four or five teams in Europe now and it looks very rosy for the future.
“We need to keep building on what we have built so far and like you’ve seen today, we have a special group of players who are here to win trophies.
“We were a little bit short against Wolfsburg but they are a couple of years further into their build that we are.
“You’ve got to bring in better players again and we are confident that we can find another level. We know that we are at a very good level now but there is another level out there for us.”
Midfielder Katie Chapman won her tenth Women’s FA Cup medal of her career and her manager paid tribute to her performance.
Hayes said “I thought Katie was the best player on the park today.
“For someone who is chasing a tenth winners’ medal I thought she led by example, was dominant and out ran their midfield at times between her and Ji (So-Yun).
“What Katie has in abundance is composure under pressure, it’s about managing the biggest games and the biggest occasions and Katie has done that year in, year out throughout her career.
“When you build a team like Paul and I have, knowing that for many of those years Katie has been the one dominant player in the side, it’s refreshing for us to see so many leaders between the lines now, there’s not a whole hearted reliance on Katie to do that.
“It is nice to know that we have leaders at the back, we have them in the middle, we have them up front and as a result of that Katie can just go on and express herself.
“She seems to like the FA Cup, she’s won it 10 times.”
A record crowd of 45,423 attended the final at Wembley and Hayes was delighted with the level of support which was attracted by the event.
“I think in 2013, I said lets turn 30,000 into 50,000 and I’m as proud of that as lifting trophies because we believe that the audience is there with the right marketing and the right messaging” said Hayes.
“It’s mental listening to the fans calling out their heroes’ names in a very familiar way.
“It has reached the point now where it is not token gestures, it’s scores of people, not young girls, boys, men, women that are coming to watch these games and not just for the day out.
“There’s a quality on show, these are professionals now and we need to turn this into a paying sport.
“The fact the we have had 45,000 paying customers today shows that we are making the right strides in the game.
“The challenge for The FA is now making 45,000 into 60,000.”
Last season’s SSE Women’s FA Cup final attendance was 35,271 which was a record at that time.