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WSL preview: Tottenham look to scupper Chelsea’s title plans

It was heartbreak at Wembley for Tottenham last Sunday.

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Robert Vilahamn’s team lost 4-0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup final. It was the first time Spurs had reached the Cup final, and the first time Manchester United had lifted the trophy.

However, there is still plenty to be optimistic about from a Spurs perspective.

Vilahamn’s first season in English football has been a success, improving his team’s league position by three places from last season and providing the fans with a memorable journey to the FA Cup final.

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The semi-final victory against Leicester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was a joyous day for the Spurs contingent. This highlighted their upward trajectory, something Vilahamn is happy to reflect on.

“The team were fighting relegation last year, so we have turned it around,” said Vilahamn.

“We’ve developed an identity in how we play and how we run business. It feels like we’re doing all the right stuff.”

Feeling after FA Cup defeat

As commonly said, Wembley Stadium is the best place in the world to win, and the worst to lose.

Vilahamn gave some insight into how he felt after the FA Cup final, and the reaction of his players.

“We all had a day off to work with our feelings. But when everybody came back, we had a good meeting with lots of energy where we looked more into the whole process and not just that game.”

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Looking after mental health

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and Vilahamn discussed the importance of mental health and the best ways to address it, especially regarding himself and his players.

“It’s a very important subject for people around the world in different areas and I think you shouldn’t be afraid to speak about it.

“We have hired a sports psychologist full-time to work with us, and I’m very interested in this area as well.

“I always want to create an open climate for players to speak about their feelings. The good and the bad stuff.”

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This week, the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation invited local students inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to kick off a conversation on mental health as part of the Premier League’s Inside Matters campaign.

The campaign also saw Premier League players react to the interview where Tottenham forward Richarlison talks about his mental health.

Thoughts on Emma Hayes

A big story heading into the game is that Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has two WSL games remaining before she takes over as head coach of the United States women’s national team.

Hayes has won 15 trophies in charge of Chelsea, with Vilahamn full of praise for her. When asked if he has learned anything from Hayes during his time in England, he replied:

“Well, firstly I think she’s a big role model for women’s football and the growth of it.

“I have my ways of coaching, but I can be inspired by others and I think she’s a role model in that area. She’s a very clever coach and person.”

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He also spoke about Hayes’ impact off the pitch regarding the women’s game, influencing his journey in women’s football.

“I came into women’s football a few years ago, and I can be inspired by the hard work she’s done for the game.

“She’s making sure she takes every duel and every discussion to ensure female athletes get what they deserve.”

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London derby

The narrative going into the game is that it’s a London derby, but also that Chelsea must win to keep their title hopes alive.

Tottenham are on a good run in the league too- five games unbeaten.

The fans will want to get one over their league rivals to end Chelsea’s title hopes and extend their unbeaten streak.

“We have a really good fan base,” said Vilahamn.

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Wembley was amazing. We can feel their love, and we appreciate their help and support, even if we lose.

“The fanbase is growing with us, it’s going to be a very fun game to play and hopefully, we can get a result for them.”

The game at Brisbane Road available to watch 7.15pm tonight on BBC Four.


  • Sam Sheppey

    Sam is a 22-year-old award-winning sports journalist from Hertfordshire with experience writing for club media with Stevenage Football Club, magazine articles with Greenways Publishing, and podcasting for talkSPORT and Birmingham City fan channel Blues Focus. Link to portfolio: