Emma Hayes: Chelsea manager on her unusual Mother's Day

Emma Hayes
Emma Hayes led her Chelsea side to Continental League Cup glory on 29 February

Combining a game of hide and seek with a tactical masterclass from Marcelo Bielsa probably wasn't at the top of many people's lists of how to spend Mother's Day.

But that is exactly what Chelsea Women's manager Emma Hayes found herself doing on Sunday.

Just three weeks after guiding Chelsea to their first Women’s Continental League Cup final triumph, Hayes is now social distancing at home with 22-month-old son Harry, rather than being surrounded by a squad of players.

With the Women’s Super League, like all elite football in England, postponed until at least 30 April because of the coronavirus outbreak, Hayes and others at the London club have been looking for ways to stay productive.

And so to Leeds United’s Argentine boss Bielsa - a manager that both Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino regard as the best coach in the world - Hayes turned to after managing to escape the attention of toddler Harry.

“We are taking this opportunity to develop ourselves,” Hayes told BBC Radio 5 live. “But I’m finding it really hard to do that with a baby around my ankles.

“I snuck an hour to watch Bielsa on YouTube, I love that guy. I watched a video of him talking about tactics and formations against Brazil and I absolutely loved it.

“I had to hide in the cupboard for a bit so my son was not cognisant of where I was.”

Hayes said finding structure and a work-life balance as a manager in self-isolation has proven to be a challenge.

Like everyone globally Hayes is dealing with the realities of the pandemic and how it has changed everyday life, but she knows that dealing mentally with the situation is also important.

“My routine is not being at home with a child all day, mine is with a football team,” she said.

“I have a baby in the house, for any parent it is challenging knowing that you have to find different solutions daily, different routines daily.

“I’ve had to adjust to that, which is great because I'm spending time with my son but also I’m having to contemplate mentally how I will cope through this period.

“I’m no different to anyone in this situation, our mental health is going to be challenged and there has to be a degree of rigour and discipline to stay on the right side of that.”

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