Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes says her players spoke to club owner Roman Abramovich after yesterday’s 4-0 defeat against Barcelona in Sweden, and told him of their intention to return to play in the Champions League final again. Mr Abramovich attended the game to support the team in their first appearance in this competition’s final.
Hayes reckons the experience of the way the game was lost against the Spaniards will stand her side in good stead for lifting the trophy next time, should they achieve that target of playing in the final again.
Immediately after the game, Hayes spoke about the early goals conceded more or less finishing it as a contest when it had barely begun. It was 4-0 by half-time but a more solid display in the second half ensured that was the final score.
‘The mood in the dressing room after was the mood you’d expect it to be in a team not used to losing,’ Hayes reports.
‘We’re a classy team and we behave as you should do when you’ve been beaten by a better team, acknowledging what we need to do to improve.
‘Our owner [Mr. Abramovich] came in to see us. All the girls were very quick to tell him we’ll be back here and we’ll work hard on the training pitch to make sure we do that.
‘If I know this group well enough, I know they mean these words. This is just another step in our journey because although we talk about the disappointment, we’re the second-best team in Europe.
‘While I know this team has got unbelievable character, Barcelona are a top team and you can’t give them two goals like we did, that’s the reality.
‘Some of our players haven’t played in this arena before and it showed. They’ll improve with that experience. We’re disappointed with the result but we gave it everything in the second half and, regardless of the scoreline, at least we showed the character we’ve got.’
The boss highlighted one aspect of our play that was lacking on the night.
‘We have the physicality, but if you don't dominate on first and second balls you don't deserve to win.
‘I didn't sense nerves but clearly they were there. We prepared as best we could and while I know this team has got unbelievable quality, you can't give away two goals like we did and then expect to win.
‘The best two teams in Europe were in the final and regardless of the scoreline, the gap is probably a little bit closer. We didn't perform at our best.’