15 May 2021

Emma Hayes relaxed ahead of Chelsea’s bid for Champions League glory

15 May 2021

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes described herself as excited and relaxed on the eve of a Women’s Champions League final she vowed would see the Blues “give it everything we’ve got”.

First-time finalists Chelsea meet Barcelona in Sunday’s showdown at Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg.

They are the second English club to reach the final, 14 years on from Arsenal winning the competition with Hayes as assistant boss.

The 44-year-old, Chelsea manager since 2012, told a press conference on Saturday: “One thing you gain in experience is wisdom and with wisdom comes a better understanding of how to manage the biggest moments.

“When I say to everybody this is just another game for us, that’s because I treat every game like the Champions League final. So for me it’s no different.

“There may be more media here, there may be more watching eyes this week. But the realities are this is a game we love to play, it’s a team that loves to be together and we love to be challenged by the biggest moments, and there’s no bigger opportunity than to play Barcelona in what I think will be the most-watched women’s game at least of this year.

I'm just excited for it. I feel relaxed about the game, because I know of the qualities in the dressing room.

“I’m just excited for it. I feel relaxed about the game, because I know of the qualities in the dressing room.”

Hayes – whose side are bidding for the third trophy of a possible quadruple, something the 2007 Arsenal side achieved – described her players as “amazing women that are inspiring generations”, and said: “The dream for me is about what I’ve always wanted for women’s football.

“Being in this final after so many years with an English team not participating, I think it was about time, and I’m just delighted that we got the opportunity to do that.”

She added: “I think it (Chelsea winning the match) would do a lot for the game in general. If we talk about landmark moments…you need these big situations to continue to build upon the foundations that are already in place around women’s football.

Winning on Sunday would secure the third trophy of a possible quadruple for Women's Super League champions Chelsea (John Walton/PA). (PA Wire)

“I know everybody inside that dressing room, staff and players alike, we will give it everything we’ve got to make sure we’re on the winning side tomorrow.”

Hayes said she felt “the best two teams in Europe are in the final” and “it will make a wonderful spectacle for the fans at home”.

It is set to be a particularly big occasion for Chelsea captain Magda Eriksson, a Sweden international.

The match takes place in Chelsea skipper Magda Eriksson's native Sweden (Adam Davy/PA). (PA Wire)

And the defender said: “It kind of feels surreal that we’re going to play here. I’ve played at this stadium so many times for my country. But I’m really happy and really proud of us that we’ve got this far, and I can’t wait for the game tomorrow, which is going to be a big challenge of course, Barcelona is a great team.

“It would mean so much (to win). We haven’t come this far not to give everything we can and do everything we can to lift the trophy.”

Hayes was asked if Thomas Tuchel, manager of Chelsea’s men’s team, had been in touch and she said: “Everyone’s been in touch with us, that’s how Chelsea is. Everyone’s wishing each other well.”

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