Eriksson says ‘humble’ Blues have Champions League glory in mind

Captain Magdalena Eriksson says the ‘humble’ but ‘amazing’ Chelsea squad is capable of getting even better as we chase a first-ever Champions League title.

Victory over Juventus at Kingsmeadow in our penultimate group game on Wednesday would guarantee us a place in the Champions League quarter-finals and keep us on track for a first European title.

But while the Swedish defender says confidence is sky-high following the formidable display in the 3-0 FA Cup final victory over Arsenal on Sunday, she insists there is no danger of complacency creeping in.

The Wembley win, which sealed a domestic treble for 2021, extended our unbeaten run to 14 games in all competitions.

‘Our big thing is how we treat every single game and we never take a win for granted,’ said the skipper.

‘We always try to stay humble, trying to see how much we have to do and how important the preparation is for every single game we play.

‘We keep on understanding that we are never too good to lose.’

Avoiding defeat against an ever-improving Juventus side on Wednesday would still not guarantee us a place in the last eight.

We top Group A on 10 points after three wins and a draw but Juventus, on seven points, and Wolfsburg, who have five points, could both still finish ahead of us.

‘We were really, really, happy on Sunday evening,’ Eriksson said.

‘We celebrated in the locker room, we danced, and we had a good time but of course we know the importance of this game and quite quickly the mindset started shifting.

‘You always want to go after the things that you haven’t won. That’s kind of what motivates me – the extra is the things I haven’t got, and the Champions League is one of those things that’s been a childhood dream for a lot of us players.

‘We know the Champions League is a special thing. The domestic treble is an amazing achievement, but getting that European win would be amazing as well and at the back of our minds - that’s the goal.’

The first obstacle to progressing to the knockout stages are Juventus, who under the leadership of former Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro, have won all ten Serie A Women games this season.

Eriksson expanded: ‘They know tactically what they are doing and are well coached. They’ve created their own style of play for sure. They are a good team.

‘When we were there last time it was difficult for us to create chances and you could feel that tactically they were really drilled defensively. We have to be really sharp in our attacking play.

‘When it’s opponents you don’t really play that often you don’t really know how they play and how they are going to handle these games. You have to be adaptable. For us it’s all about staying flexible, open-minded and playing off what we get.’

Aside from the challenge of facing Juve, fatigue - both mental and physical - could also be a factor.

‘With the circumstances it will be the toughest game coming off an international break and coming two days after an FA Cup final,' Magda added.

‘I think it is an individual thing. We all manage these emotional rollercoaster rides differently and you have to accept that. And also physically everyone is managed differently. That’s one of our strengths here at Chelsea, that we manage people a bit differently and you learn as an individual what you need and what’s best for you.

‘We know what you have to do to turn that emotion into fuel for the next game.’

The Gunners remain the only side to have beaten us so far this season, earning a 3-2 win in the opening Women’s Super League fixture of the season.

Eriksson said there is still much to work on despite the incredible run since that loss.

‘We are pretty much never happy with any performance,’ she explained. ‘We always want to improve.

‘I would say this is the strongest Chelsea squad I’ve been a part of. This squad has improved by small steps every year since I joined the club four years ago. We have some amazing players. Some are still here from when I joined, but everyone has improved, and the new additions just brings the extra quality to the squad.

‘We are 100 per cent capable of winning the Champions League. We were capable of it last year and we are even more capable of it this year. We are growing.

‘We are in a good place. It will be interesting to see how far we can go.’

The Blues take on Juventus on Wednesday evening at Kingsmeadow and the match kicks off at 8pm. A live video stream of the match will be available on chelseafc.com and The 5th Stand app.

 

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