There were mixed emotions for Emma Hayes as she reflected on the first leg of her second Champions League semi-final as Chelsea Women boss.
On one hand, she was pleased with just how difficult a game her side had given the reigning European champions as Lyon ran out 2-1 winners in their home leg, but on the other there was disappointment we had not made their Easter Sunday afternoon even tougher.
Playing in front of over 20,000 fans in the stadium that will hold this summer’s Women’s World Cup final, Chelsea allowed Lyon to take a 2-0 lead by half-time with the Blues missing a penalty with the last kick of that first 45. However Erin Cuthbert scored an away goal in the second half to leave it all to play for next Sunday afternoon at Kingsmeadow.
After the final whistle blew on the first leg, Hayes gave an insight into how she motivated the players at the break.
‘I said this is who we are, we get up, get back, go again, be capable, be brave, leave with no regret,’ she revealed.
‘I don’t want any regret and I also know what our team is capable of, and the rest of the world saw that in this game.
Hayes explains that for her it is not a case of playing differently in the Champions League compared with the WSL. Each game is considered on its own merits.
‘I just do what I have to do to win,’ she explained. ‘I survive first, and that looks different in different moments. I am a fighter and I want to put my team in a position where they can stay in the game. That is so important.
‘So many teams when they play against Lyon, the game is over in 15 minutes, so the challenge for my team is to show resilience and determination but importantly the tactical application too, because we are playing against the top team in the world and if you don’t play with your head, then the game will be very, very difficult.’
Secure your place now for the second leg at Kingsmeadow, which is also the last home game of the season, next Sunday (28 April). Tickets for juniors under 20 and seniors 65 and over are free. All other tickets are £6.