Chelsea boss Emma Hayes says she would happily be regarded as “the female equivalent” of her idol Brian Clough.
Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 on Wednesday to reach the League Cup final for the first time in their history.
They will face Arsenal in the final at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, where the legendary Clough reigned as manager of the East Midlands club for 18 years.
“I’m a huge fan of Brian Clough. I might be his female equivalent but I’m quite happy with that,” said Hayes.
“I love Brian Clough. I grew up in a household that loved him. To go to his home as a manager will be a really special moment for me.”
The outspoken and hugely charismatic Clough, who died in 2004, won both the league title and European Cup twice during his spell as Forest manager.
Derby County were also domestic champions under him, with both clubs having been in the second tier when he was appointed.
Hayes has established herself as one of the top managers in the women’s game since taking over at Chelsea in 2012.
She has won both the Women’s Super League title and Women’s FA Cup twice during her time at the helm.
The League Cup – which has only ever been won by Arsenal or Manchester City – has eluded Hayes, but the final on 29 February gives her a chance to change that.
Her team were beaten in the semi-finals of both domestic competitions and the Champions League last season.
“Everybody knows we’ve stumbled at this stage,” said Hayes. “I’m proud of the players. They’ve always been a good bunch but right now there’s a calmness and a composure to the team.
“I want to win. Winning breeds more winning, that’s what I’ve learnt. Getting on a roll is important.
“There’s a hunger in our group that wasn’t there last year. There’s a stronger mentality.
“But we’re not going to the final to make the numbers up.”