Chelsea’s men’s and women’s teams came together to show their support for Emma Hayes after the manager took time off to recover from emergency surgery.
Both teams wore training shirts reading “Get well soon Emma” ahead of their matches on Sunday, wishing her well after her hysterectomy to deal with an “ongoing battle with endometriosis”.
Despite Hayes’ absence, she was still heavily involved and was on the phone to assistant coach Denise Reddy during the women’s team’s hard-fought victory over Everton.
“It was a really professional performance in trying circumstances this week, but I thought everyone pulled together and we were worthy winners,” said general manager Paul Green, who is taking media duties while Hayes is away.
“She was linked into the bench directly to Denise for the game. She was in Denise’s ear throughout the game.
“We are a very experienced group of staff and a very experienced group of players, so we are well equipped to deal with the situation.
“Testament to everybody this week, and moving forward we will have the confidence to get the results we need during this period to make sure when Emma comes back we are challenging on all fronts.
“That is the aim and I think everyone has really stepped up this week and will continue to do that in Emma’s absence.”
Green also confirmed that the final decisions on the day were made by Reddy and that Hayes did not speak to the players.
Pernille Harder scored either side of a Kadeisha Buchanan own goal, her second goal coming from the penalty spot, before Niamh Charles added the third in the fifth minute of added time.
Green joked: “I’m sure it was a hard watch at home but I guess when the third goal goes in it is a massive relief. I just hope she didn’t jump off the couch and cause herself any injury.
“I’m sure she was delighted with a really professional performance by the team. We’ve started this block of games with a win, which was the intention.”
Harder’s goals came in her first game back after injury and provided her side with the firepower they had lacked for the first part of the season.
The Dane paid tribute to the coaching staff who had stepped up in Hayes’ absence.
“She has been in touch with the staff all week, since she came back from the hospital,” she said.
“It’s good to know she is feeling good and I think she prepared the staff really well for this period of time.
“The staff are working really hard, Denise is doing really well also. So of course we want Emma to be here on the [side of the] pitch but she is still in the efforts.”
The Blues now face a trip to Paris St-Germain in the Champions League on Thursday.
Also on Sunday, Chelsea’s men beat Aston Villa 2-0.