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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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‘It’s better than being bored’ – Hayes

Chelsea face Juventus at Allianz Stadium in Turin on WednesdayChelsea boss Emma Hayes says her side’s packed season is “better than being bored” as they prepare to face Women’s Champions League opponents Juventus.

As well as European football and their Women’s Super League duties, the Blues are in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Five Chelsea players will join up with the England squad for two World Cup qualifiers upon return from Turin.

“We have the second best record in Europe in terms of keeping players on the grass,” Hayes said of the workload.

“It’s better than being bored. That’s the easy part, the loading.

“We’ve got so much support around the team to help with that. It’s just basics. Communication to make sure we get the balance right between how much a person does on the grass and what recovery they need.”

Defenders Millie Bright, Jess Carter and Niamh Charles, as well as forwards Bethany England and Fran Kirby, will join England for World Cup qualifiers on 23 and 26 October.

Chelsea then face Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final on 31 October before the WSL season resumes on 6 November and Hayes said the “intensity” of the league did pose some challenges.

“There’s no denying that leagues across Europe have wonderful teams in them but it is the speed and intensity of WSL games that takes a lot out of players,” she added.

England: Hampton and Russo recalledWhy Hegerberg shed tears on return’Italy is my second home’As well as winning the WSL, Chelsea reached the Women’s Champions League final last year but were beaten 4-0 by Barcelona.

In their opening group match against Wolfsburg, the Blues came from two goals down to eventually equalise at 3-3 in the second minute of added time.

Hayes now faces a well-known foe in former Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro, who took over at Juventus in the summer.

But the opposition manager is not all that will be familiar to her, with the trip to Turin taking Hayes back to an Italian-influenced childhood.

“I’ve got an Italian father,” Hayes explained.

“I grew up with AC Milan in my household. I’m over the moon I’m in Italy, I feel like I’m in my second home. I grew up spending all my summers in Italy so this is a fantastic moment for me as a coach.

“I think Italian teams are notorious for having an unbelievable understanding of what it takes to win football matches. So I know that this will be as tough a task as it is against Wolfsburg.”

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