Emma Hayes hails Chelsea Women’s courage and conviction after PSG win


Emma Hayes paid tribute to her players for carrying out the game-plan perfectly, as Chelsea Women secured a two-goal advantage in the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain.

Our opponents from the French capital were a cut above the sides we defeated in the first two rounds of the competition, resulting in an even contest played out in front of 2,616 supporters at Kingsmeadow, including Blues legends David Luiz and Tore Andre Flo.

The decisive moments came in the final 15 minutes, as first Hannah Blundell curled a left-footed shot into the top corner and then Erin Cuthbert drove in a late second to give us a 2-0 lead which puts us in a good position ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

'It was cagey in the first half, we didn't give much away but neither did they,' said Hayes. 'I told my players at half-time, “We've got another gear in us. Be positive.”

'I thought defensively we were spot on, but we needed a bit more courage and conviction going into the final third. I thought we displayed that. There was nothing I was surprised about – I saw everything I expected of them, we dealt with it in exactly the way we planned.

'Second half we countered more, exploited the space, and the subs came into the game and we carried out the game-plan to perfection. It was a deserved 2-0 win.

'It's always going to be a game of few chances at this level, unless you want to open up. If you do that against a side like PSG, you leave yourself vulnerable as they've got unbelievable pace. I thought our defensive organisation was first-class.'

Looking ahead

Now, with a two-goal lead to defend in Paris, attention turns to the return match next Wednesday. Chelsea fans intending to travel can take advantage of a free-ticket offer. The game will also be shown live on The 5th Stand and Chelsea TV. 

Hayes is experienced enough to know the job is far from done, with 90 minutes still to be played, but she is backing her players to get the job done.

'We'll approach the second leg with exactly the same vigour and quality we did the first leg. They're at home, they've got that advantage, but we've got experience of being in this position and we must maximise that and stay concentrated.'


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