Emma Hayes programme notes available to read

You can read the Chelsea Ladies manager's notes ahead of their big European game against Rosengard here, with tonight's matchday programme being distributed for free on entry at Kingsmeadow, subject to availability...

Emma Hayes Manager's Notes

Last month we took the biggest step in the history of Chelsea Ladies Football Club by eliminating Bayern Munich, a European heavyweight, in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Now it’s time to take another giant leap forward against an even better side.

Rosengard come to Kingsmeadow as the favourites in this tie. They were seeded third in the draw, their quality is comparable with Bayern, but there is one big difference – they have experience and nous when it comes to this competition and, in particular, competing in the latter stages.

But they don’t want to play against us. No one does. When the draw for the last 16 was made, I guarantee each of the seeded clubs – barring Manchester City, who we couldn’t face – took one look at their potential opponents and crossed their fingers it wouldn’t be Chelsea.

By beating Bayern Munich, teams across Europe are taking us seriously. We grew up in that tie, particularly in the second leg, when the last 20 minutes felt like two hours, and you could see how much it meant to us.

It gave the players a real insight into what it takes to reach the top, because you can’t become European savvy until you’ve played in the competition against the very best players. Even for our tender years and experience in it, I think we’re fast growing up and not only competing with the best teams, but also beating them.

So while we’ve got another tough draw, we also know we’ve got a very resilient dressing room, full of fabulous characters who have the belief and, importantly, the courage to play the top teams and win against them.

What’s more, tonight we’re playing in our own stadium, which is filled with our wonderful fans. Every single per cent counts at the top level and when there are tired legs, your support can be the difference in our players finding that extra yard. Together we can make this another unforgettable night for Chelsea Ladies.