Chelsea FC Women secured an emphatic 5-1 aggregate victory against Wolfsburg to book our place in the Champions League semi-finals, but Blues boss Emma Hayes insists the win is not enough and wants her players to continue to raise the bar and achieve even more success.
The Blues executed the master plan from the Chelsea manager to perfection as goals from Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby secured a 3-0 away leg triumph to knock last year’s finalists out of the competition.
Chelsea will now face either Bayern Munich or Rosengard in the semi-finals and Hayes applauded her players and staff for their continuous dedication to help the Blues overcome one of Europe’s elite.
‘I said it at the end of the game, people like Drew [Spence], Hannah [Blundell], Carly [Telford], myself and Paul [Green], we’ve been here from the beginning,' she said.
‘We’ve had to lose eight times to this team in the past, so I know how it feels. To make the progress we’ve made and showing the investment that the club has made in all of us, I think it’s the biggest win in Chelsea history, in my time here.
‘The amount of endless hours my staff have put into recruitment, to all the fine details to get us to this level to make sure that when we are in this position, we can close it out, with the quality of the training, the quality of the personnel, the quality of recruitment, the quality of the analysis.
‘I know that thousands of hours have gone in to getting this win today. I’m extremely proud and grateful.’
While it was Wolfsburg who dominated large periods of the opening leg, Chelsea managed to get a first-leg victory despite not reaching the levels Hayes expects of her side.
The second leg, however, showed exactly what her side are capable of as the Blues carried out the game plan to perfection and produced an impressive performance, both in attack and defence.
Hayes was delighted with her side's display in Budapest but challenged her players to reach even higher levels and create more history.
She added: ‘For me what I wanted was a brave performance from the team. I had complete confidence that we would get the win but when the players cross the line they had to deliver that.
‘We had belief from winning the first leg. We didn’t play well, we were probably 60 per cent of what we are capable of. We reflected on what we needed to do, and we got all the details right.
‘I’m proud, buts it not enough, I want more.’
With Maren Mjelde injured and Niamh Charles suspended, Hayes handed Jess Carter her second Champions League start for the Blues and the 23-year-old grabbed her opportunity with both hands as she produced a solid performance at right-back.
Carter, along with Mille Bright, skipper Magda Eriksson and Jonna Andersson restricted our opponents to very few clear-cut opportunities and Hayes praised the job done by the Blues back four.
‘Jess coming in shows why every day matters.
‘I say that to her, you have to train like it’s your last, you have to put everything into being a top professional even when you don’t get the minutes and in this game she got reward for that.
‘It was a superb performance from the back four. In the first game, we got run ragged so for me the foundations for us are at the back so huge credit to Millie, Magda, Jonna and Jess today because they made Ann’s life a lot easier.’