Match Preview

Hayes: This will be a tough game

Emma Hayes expects another stern test when her side face Juventus in the Champions League tomorrow evening.

The Blues played out an entertaining 3-3 draw in our opening group-stage fixture against Wolfsburg last Wednesday and tomorrow take on Italian outfit Juventus at the Allianz Stadium.

Chelsea have never played Juventus in a competitive fixture, but Hayes admits facing the unknown will help her learn new findings about her team.

She said: ‘It’s another great game. We’ve already had good tests so far and I know I’ve got a dressing room that really enjoys playing the Champions League.

‘We are looking forward to pitting ourselves against the top team in Italy and learning another part about ourselves.

‘You need this sort of game, where the opponent is a little unknown and this is where I certainly get the most joy from playing against teams I don’t know much about.’

Hayes will be reunited with a familiar face at tomorrow’s game with former Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro now the Juventus boss having left Arsenal at the end of last season.

‘I’ve of course studied Joe’s [Montemurro] habits,’ revealed Hayes. ‘His preferences as a coach in terms of what his teams like to do and I’ve had to go back over that but this Juventus team, Italian teams, it’s really different. So different.

‘This will be a tough game. Italian teams are notorious for having an unbelievable understanding of what it takes to win football matches.

‘This is the home of some brilliant defending. In the men’s game, they are European champions and I have a huge respect for Italian football. I have an Italian father so I know that this will be as tough as task as it was against Wolfsburg.’

Maren Mjelde was included in the matchday squad for the first time in seven months for last week’s opening group fixture against Wolfsburg and the Norwegian has travelled with the group for tomorrow’s meeting with Juventus.

Speaking in her pre-match press conference, Hayes told the media that Mjelde will not be available for selection against the Italians tomorrow but is delighted to have the 31-year-old back among the Blues squad.

She added: ‘Maren is a huge part of our dressing room in so many ways. She is the real mother hen, a real quiet leader and someone who is a welcome return to the group. We need to keep building her minutes on the training pitch at the minute.

‘Maren and great Champions League nights go together. She is with us and she is someone everybody respects and looks up to, staff included.

‘She is a wise leader that has always earnt respect by being a model professional in every way, shape and form. She has worked so hard to get back to this position. It was a tricky injury, a tricky recovery but she is on the right side now. We will start to get some minutes in the international break which will be fantastic for her.

‘We will try and get her some minutes with our academy team and then build from there. I expect after the international break that she will come into the reckoning to be in for team selection.’

Tomorrow’s game against Juventus kicks-off at 8pm UK time (9pm CET) and will be available to watch live on DAZN’s YouTube channel.

Before then, get involved in our new Women's Play Predictor for a chance to win some great prizes! Play on the 5th Stand app and make your selections for the game before registration closes.

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