Emma Hayes recites poem in bizarre response to Jonas Eidevall comments on ‘male aggression’ row

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes responded to questions about her altercation with Arsenal rival Jonas Eidevall following last month’s League Cup final by reciting a poem during a bizarre press conference on Friday.

Hayes pushed Eidevall as he went for a post-match handshake and then accused him of showing “male aggression” following her team’s defeat to Arsenal last month – comments the Gunners boss believed were “irresponsible” and had cast a “dark shadow over the game”.

The Blues boss said she had reflected on the confrontation but deflected further questions when asked if she regretted her conduct, in what was her first appearance since the League Cup final following the international break.

Hayes, who will be leaving Chelsea at the end of the season to become the manager of the United States, instead responded by revealing a conversation she had with her young son before reciting a reading by the American poet Robert Frost.

Hayes said the lesson she took away from the incident was “you cannot meet aggression with aggression”, and did not retract her comments towards Eidevall – who was booked during the final for an altercation with Chelsea captain Erin Cuthbert.

In reference to the post-match shove on Eidevall, Hayes began her press conference by saying: “My son said to me after the game, ‘When you push someone in school you’re asked to go and take time out’.

“I said to him, ‘You can’t meet aggression with aggression. All you can do is tell the teacher. All you can do is go and explain to the teacher why you think something is unfair. That’s all you can do, you cannot meet aggression with aggression. That’s all I said to my son after the final.”

When asked to clarify her comments, Hayes recited a section of the 1916 poem ‘Choose Something Like A Star’ and read: “So when at times the mob is swayed, to carry praise or blame too far, we may choose something like a star, to stay our minds on and be staid.”

Hayes declined to offer any further explanation and said she wanted to move on.

“I’ve already explained an important analogy that I shared with my son and the lessons learned, and my focus is on moving forward. And I’ve had time to look at my star.”

Earlier on Friday, Arsenal manager Eidevall said it was a “real pity” that his team’s victory was overshadowed by the scenes post-match.

“If there is only one thing that I think had some dark shadow over that game is that [the players] didn’t get fully in the spotlight they deserved,” he said.

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