Playful Jonas Eidevall said he wants to make Emma Hayes’ “life in the WSL as difficult and unpleasant” as possible, but will then call the Chelsea manager and ask him for advice after she leaves the club at the end of the season.
Chelsea’s shock announcement that Hayes would be leaving the club after 11 years came ahead of reports that she was a leading candidate for the vacant US women’s national team position.
“I don’t know why she’s leaving, but there’s no doubt that she will leave a legacy at Chelsea,” Eidevall said after his side’s 2-1 win over Manchester City. “It is a legacy that all football managers would be very proud of. She should be very proud of that.
“I think that myself and all the other managers will try to make her life in the WSL as difficult and unpleasant as possible before she leaves,” he said with a grin.
“After that, she will be one of the first people I might pick up the phone and call because I think she has some really interesting ideas about football and building a football team. If you’re not direct rivals I’d love to spend a bit of time with her, listen to her experiences at Chelsea and so on, but that call will have to wait and we’ll have to remain competitors. Hopefully she ends up really bad at Chelsea, but that won’t ruin her legacy. But then good luck with everything.”
City manager Gareth Taylor said he was surprised by Hayes’ announcement. “She’s had a long time at Chelsea and I can imagine she’s thinking, ‘What’s next?'” Taylor said. “It’s still quite early (in the season), so that probably surprised everyone. I was probably a little surprised, like everyone else.”
Taylor also said 19-year-old goalkeeper Khiara Keating would be well looked after after she saved a penalty but was at fault for both goals in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat.
“She’ll be fine,” he said. “It’s an essential part. I’ve talked to you quite a bit about the fact that there will be a moment when she will make a mistake, and it certainly won’t be the last, and that’s the same for all players, all goalkeepers, but she has so many good ones things done and she will continue to be great.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s all good news for them. It’s something that defines you as a player. She will get through this and we will support her in the right way. Before you know it, she’ll be back out there doing great things like she always has.”