Chelsea manager Emma Hayes claimed there was no consoling her players as the FA Women’s Super League title slipped from their grasp – but she insisted they’d be back.
Just 12 months ago the Blues finished second from bottom in the league but they’ve set the pace this season and looked well placed to win their first title in 22 years.
Last week the champagne was on ice as Chelsea looked to have locked down the title, only for rivals Birmingham City to score a late winner in their game – meaning the league went right to the wire.
Chelsea only needed a draw with Manchester City but goals from Toni Duggan and Jill Scott conspired against the Londoners, with Gilly Flaherty’s strike too little, too late in a 2-1 defeat.
That meant defending champions Liverpool, who started the day three points adrift, claimed the title on goal difference after their 3-0 win over Bristol. Elsewhere, Birmingham – who could also have snatched the crown on the final day of the season – drew 2-2 with Notts County.
And it all left Chelsea’s players, including England international Eniola Aluko, inconsolable – with qualification for the Champions League, for the first time in the club’s history, only feeling like a small consolation
Devastated to have lost vs Man City today but so proud of the whole squad for coming 2nd in the @FAWSL and qualifying for Champions league
— Anne Meiwald (@ameiwald2) October 12, 2014
“You can’t console the players in these moments,” said Hayes. “We’ll reflect when we meet next week.
“But what an effort this season. We’ve got into the Champions League and have a lot to look forward to.
“We’ll go again and we’ll be here again – the title just wasn’t destined for Chelsea this year.”
Devastated isn’t the word right now. Thank u to @MCWFC doctor and staff with your help today
— Marie Hourihan (@M_Hourihan) October 12, 2014