Claire Rafferty Fri 30 Sep 2016
After the disappointment of relinquishing the title to Manchester City on Sunday, what better pick-me up than the opportunity to play our first game at Stamford Bridge?
I’ve been at this club for over nine years and if you’d told me at the start that one day I’d be playing on the same turf that some of the world’s greatest players have graced, I’d have laughed. It’s a sign of how far we’ve come in the past few years that people are wondering why this hasn’t happened sooner.
We’ve played at the Emirates a couple of times against Arsenal and obviously I’ve had the Wembley experience with Chelsea, but this is different. We are the home team and with that comes both the immense pride of representing our club and having the backing of our wonderful supporters in such a special stadium.
There’s no attachment to Wembley for us, if that makes sense, but when I think of Stamford Bridge it feels like home. Which is odd because I’ve never played there before! I feel proud that we’re being given this chance and that the club is almost saying, ‘We’re proud of you girls and we want you to show what you can do at Stamford Bridge.’ Hopefully it raises us an extra level.
Everyone is saying what a tough draw we’ve got, but it’s the same for Wolfsburg – out of all the unseeded teams, we were probably the one they least wanted to face. We know what we’re up against, we’ve learned a lot from last season and we’ve strengthened. I really think we can beat them.
We were beaten 4-1 on aggregate last time, but I definitely think we were unfortunate against them. I scored an own goal in something like the first minute of the first leg – it just ricocheted off me – and that sort of bad luck can’t happen to us again.
Playing in the Champions League for the first time was a big step up – I’m not sure people fully appreciate the quality of the teams at this level. No disrespect to Man City, but I’d place Wolfsburg on a different level to them. They’ve been together a long time and they’re very experienced in the Champions League. They’re a different calibre of team.
We’ve only really become the Chelsea we are now in the last few years – before that, there’s not a chance we’d have been able to compete with a team like that. But now we fancy our chances. It’ll be tough, for sure, but if we perform to our potential and with the backing of our 12th player, we can do it.
- Tickets for Chelsea Ladies' Champions League game against Wolfsburg at Stamford Bridge are now on sale.
You can see Emma Hayes' side take on the German team in the first leg of the last-16 tie on Wednesday October 5, with kick-off at 7pm.
Tickets are priced at just £5 for adults and £3 for juniors (under 20) and seniors (over 65), so why not come along and show your support for the Blues?