Hayes and Chelsea ready to face a Reading side ‘fighting for their lives’ in a pivotal WSL title and survival clash | The Sun

EMMA HAYES insists Chelsea’s focus is on what they can control in their bid to be crowned WSL champions for a fourth successive season. 

The Blues manager is preparing her team to face a Reading side ‘fighting for their lives’ with the Royals aiming to avoid relegation.

Saturday’s match is one of six end-of-season clashes, all kicking off at 2:30 pm.

The result of this encounter and Manchester United’s duel with Liverpool will decide whether the Blues retain the title, or if the Red Devils win it for the first time in their history. 

Hayes said: “We respect that we’re facing a team fighting for their lives for a manager I know very well. 

"For us, we have to take care of all the right things. 

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“When I think back to every campaign (where we've won the title), we've only ever won the league by a couple of points at the best.

"This is just business as usual for us”.

A Chelsea away victory would see them claim a third successive league and FA Cup double.  

And three points for Kelly Chambers’ Royals would see them leap out of the drop zone if rivals Leicester fail to beat Brighton. 

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Last season Chelsea lost 1-0 on the road to Reading with Canada forward Deanne Rose netting the winning goal.

However Hayes says that defeat will not enter her players’ minds in their duel with the Royals. 

The Blues chief added: “We don't think about that. We're in a position to control the outcome.

“Everybody behind the scenes (staff and players) have worked so hard to get to this point.

“The focus, the concentration and consistency is all I've been interested in with them all week, to make sure that we're in a position to perform. 

“Everybody knows their roles and tasks and we're in the best mindset. 

Should Chelsea lose and Man United beat the Reds away, Marc Skinner’s side will become WSL champions for the first time in their history. 

On whether she will keep an eye on United’s score, Hayes said: “I might ask at halftime but for the most part I will focus on just what we were in control of.

"If I need to ask in the second half then I will do but I don't think about it.

"I just think about getting off to the right start."

A Reading loss would see them drop out of the top-flight eight years on from winning promotion to the WSL." 

Royals head coach Chambers said: “As tough as the challenge ahead is for us, it is a game of football. 

“We are where we are and for different reasons, and honest conversations have happened.

“As much as it is a hard position to be in right now, the players have really attacked the week in a positive mindset to try to do everything they can for the weekend.

“We are still in the fight. We have to leave everything out there.”

Between 2018 and 2022 the Royals have been a solid mid-table side with the team finishing fifth three years ago.

This term the club have struggled with injuries including forward Rose sidelined with an Achilles issue last September.

The Canada ace made her return with a 60th minute substitute appearance during Reading’s 4-1 loss to Tottenham last time out. 

Chambers added: “Deanne gives us a completely different dimension to the squad that we haven't had all season. 

“What we saw (from her) against Tottenham is what we've missed this season.

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