Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes: I'm so proud of myself for reaching Champions League final

Chelsea Women became the first English side to reach a Champions League final since Arsenal in 2007 after beating Bayern Munich 4-1 at Kingsmeadow; Emma Hayes is the first female manager to make it to final in 12 years; Chelsea will face Barcelona in Gothenburg on May 16

Emma Hayes
Image: Emma Hayes has reached the Champions League final for the first time

Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes says she has "worked my whole life for today" after she guided her side into their first Champions League final.

The Blues had a mountain to climb after losing 2-1 to Bayern Munich Women in the first leg last week, but a sensational performance at Kingsmeadow saw them win 4-1 in the second leg and 5-3 on aggregate.

Fran Kirby topped and tailed the performance with the opening and final goal, while Pernille Harder and So-yun Ji also found the net for Chelsea.

A proud and emotional Hayes gave an impassioned post-match interview, where she described her personal pride and that for her players.

The Chelsea Women manager told BT Sport: "I've worked my whole life for today. I'm so proud of those players, they delivered, they're resilient and everyone did everything they can. In these situations, it's so tense.

"I'm going to say this to every coach sitting at home - this is thousands of hours, thousands of travelling, thousands of set-backs, working with different teams, different moments.

"I'm so proud of myself. I got to this level through my hard work, my determination and I'm fortunate enough to be working for a football club that I adore, that have given me licence to do this and I work with a set of players that were always in control, even when I didn't feel like I was! But they did everything possible today.

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Emma Hayes
Image: Hayes celebrates with a member of her Chelsea Women staff at full time

"I just love winning, it doesn't bore me and this is a tournament I like being in. I think it's important for English football that we made it. English football is one of the best in the world and getting to the final shuts up Europe in terms of what we're doing in this country and we've got to face another top team in Barcelona."

Hayes later added: "I've wanted today so badly. It was the longest week in the world. I had to do everything to keep my emotions in check, keep training normal. I just wanted the game to come. I'm so happy it was an early kick-off.

"I've been in enough of these games now to know they're never straightforward. Fair play to Bayern, I think they were a tremendous opponent. But the resilience in this group is just so unbelievable.

"I think there were two moments late on I was hanging on for dear life. Everybody executed what I asked them to do. We're there, we're in the final.

"I've learned over the years that, of course I want to win the final, but I am going to acknowledge the achievement of making history getting there because we put thousands of hours into what we do and I'm going to have a nice evening tonight.

Chelsea's Ji So-yun celebrates after putting them 2-1 up against Bayern Munich 1:08
Hayes says she knew her team 'would not lose' to Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals

"I'm overwhelmed with emotion. I can't describe it. I almost can't let the tears go. How do you describe the pride you have for the club you represent, for the people you represent? I'm a very maternal figure in here and I'm so happy for everyone."

Chelsea are also on the verge of another domestic title in the Women's Super League, having already clinched the Women's League Cup title in March.

Hayes said: "Someone described us as 'mentality monsters', and we're the best. We're in the position we deserve to be in.

"It's the people ultimately who are willing to do the rubbish things in the right moments. It's the fact that we've been through a lot together and we've journeyed. I've been here nine years, it hasn't just happened, it's been a long time coming. I'm going to have a nice sing-song and cry the whole way home."

Harder: WCL final win would be biggest of my career

Pernille Harder celebrates putting Chelsea 3-1 up against Bayern Munich
Image: Pernille Harder celebrates putting Chelsea 3-1 up against Bayern Munich

Goalscorer Harder was also ecstatic to have helped Chelsea into their first Women's Champions League final. She has twice been a runner-up with Wolfsburg, including last season against Lyon.

She told BT Sport: "It's amazing. This is why we play football. It means everything. We believed from the first minute and it was unbelievable work from the whole team.

"When my goal went in, it was the best feeling ever. When Fran put the last one in, it was a relief. It was too stressful at the end. I went off and it was awful to be on the outside.

"To win the final would be the biggest thing in my career."

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