14 May 2021

Magda Eriksson hails mental strength of Chelsea squad ahead of European final

14 May 2021

Magda Eriksson insists belief is the key to Chelsea’s recent success as the Blues prepare to continue their quadruple quest when they play Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League final.

Having already lifted the League Cup in March, Chelsea won trophy number two of a potential four this season on Sunday as they defeated Reading 5-0 to record back-to-back Women’s Super League titles. Emma Hayes’ team are also still in the FA Cup and face Everton in the fifth round next week.

Sunday’s Champions League showpiece in Gothenburg represents the Blues’ third major final in the past two terms, having suffered semi-final heartache seven times between 2016 and 2019.

Skipper Eriksson puts Chelsea’s newfound ability to be able to make that next step down to strength of mind within the squad.

Chelsea v Bayern Munich – UEFA Women’s Champions League – Semi Final – Second Leg – Kingsmeadow (PA Wire)

“It feels like there has been something different about this year, across the mentality of the team and the squad,” the 27-year-old defender said.

“The belief we have in each other, you can’t really fake that. We have played together for a long time now and we believe so much in each other and have amazing players all over the pitch.

“Belief has been the difference and the mentality of finding a way to get a result. Even if we are not playing perfectly, we have found a way.”

Chelsea’s first Champions League final appearance will be the biggest game of most of the players’ careers to date, but Eriksson hopes the team can relax and rise to the occasion.

“I want to encourage the team to be brave and to play like we have all year,” the Blues captain said.

“It’s a big game but it’s still just a football game and I want us to go out there and enjoy it. There will be nerves, 100 per cent, and for many of us it is our first Champions League final, but we have to manage it. It is about finding the balance between managing the nerves but having the core belief and confidence in ourselves.

“It would mean everything to win. It is the reason we train every day and fight so hard to get better. We have reached the final but we are not happy with that and we want to go all the way now.”

The final will be extra special for Eriksson as it takes place in her home country.

“It will be massive,” the Swede said. “Not only is it my first Champions League final but also it is in my home country in the stadium where we play all our home games with the national team so it will be a big and amazing occasion.”

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