Dean Saunders has defended Emma Hayes’ anger towards Jonas Eidevall, though he conceded the Chelsea manager was unwise to shove her opposite number after a heated Continental League Cup final defeat. 

Hayes and Eidevall clashed after Arsenal came out on top at Molineux on Sunday, with Stina Blackstenius scoring a 116th-minute winner, with the Gunners defending their title.

Eidevall had been involved in a confrontation with Chelsea midfielder Erin Cuthbert in extra time over a disagreement over a throw-in.

Cuthbert had attempted to use a new ball but Eidevall had pointed out that the game was not being played with a multi-ball system, meaning they had to collect the original ball that had gone out of play.

Hayes has been criticised for her actions but Saunders offered a defence, insisting that a manager is justified in becoming enraged by acts of aggression towards their players and staff. 

Emma Hayes appeared to shove Jonas Eidevall following Arsenal's Conti Cup win over Chelsea

Emma Hayes appeared to shove Jonas Eidevall following Arsenal's Conti Cup win over Chelsea

Emma Hayes appeared to shove Jonas Eidevall following Arsenal’s Conti Cup win over Chelsea 

Dean Saunders claimed to understand why Hayes was so incensed after the heated cup final

Dean Saunders claimed to understand why Hayes was so incensed after the heated cup final

Dean Saunders claimed to understand why Hayes was so incensed after the heated cup final

Hayes and Eidevall offered differing opinions on their conduct in post-match interviews

Hayes and Eidevall offered differing opinions on their conduct in post-match interviews

Hayes and Eidevall offered differing opinions on their conduct in post-match interviews

‘I’ve stood in the technical area,’ Saunders began on talkSPORT. ‘And there’s nothing wrong with being aggressive but what’s the line?

‘If I’m stood in the technical area and the opposition’s manager is having a go at the referee and the fourth official, then having a go at the referee again – that’s alright. 

‘But if you say one thing to one of my players then I’m involved. If you start having a pop at them or having a pop at my staff or me then you’ve gone too far. 

‘You’re allowed to have a moment, that’s how we let steam off. The fourth official might as well have a punch bag up. That’s the worst job ever in the history of football.

‘It’s nerve-racking, frustrating and there’s so much at stake.’

In the days that have followed, some have claimed the reaction would have been stronger had he acted the same way towards Hayes. 

There have also been comparisons to the infamous clash between former Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel and then-Tottenham boss Antonio Conte in the Premier League.

Tuchel was given a one-match touchline ban and fine by the FA over the incident in 2022.

Hayes has also faced criticism for using the words ‘male aggression’ to describe Eidevall’s behaviour on the touchline.

The Chelsea boss criticised Eidevall after a clash with Chelsea's Erin Cuthbert over match balls

The Chelsea boss criticised Eidevall after a clash with Chelsea's Erin Cuthbert over match balls

The Chelsea boss criticised Eidevall after a clash with Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert over match balls 

Despite his support of Hayes’ fury, Saunders admitted that the outgoing Chelsea boss was wrong to shove the Arsenal manager. 

‘[Eidevall] has crossed the line if he’s having a go at one of the opposition’s players and Emma has probably crossed the line by pushing him after the game.’ He added. 

‘It’s football. We’re in a world now where you can’t say anything, you can’t do anything but that’s just football. 

‘One’s lost, she’s raging and he’s gloating and it just happens. After the game, you get back in the dressing room you walk up to each other and say “sorry about” and just laugh.’

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