Magda Eriksson can’t wait to play in front of a bumper Stamford Bridge crowd tonight, and the Chelsea Women skipper believes the team are in a good place to bounce back from the weekend loss to Man City when we host Lyon Feminin in the second leg of our Champions League quarter-final tie.
A record Champions League crowd for a Chelsea Women’s game on home soil is expected for the visit of the French and European champions. Having already beaten their title rivals PSG 3-0 in SW6 this season, as well as Tottenham in the WSL, Eriksson is hoping home support will again go a long way as we try to back up our brilliant 1-0 win in Lyon last week.
‘I’m really happy to hear about big numbers and a big crowd,’ enthused Eriksson.
‘The crowd and the team feed off each other. We love our fans and they mean so much to us. It means a lot we get to have this game tomorrow at Stamford Bridge, our fortress. We have had some good experiences there before which we will have at the front of our minds when we go out on the pitch.
‘There are 90 minutes to play, there might be more, and there is a long way to go,’ she continued.
‘We have to really be switched on from the start, stay together as a team and be resilient.
‘We can’t have a result in the back of our mind. It’s our behaviours that matter. It’s about being aggressive, being on the front foot, being aggressive when we play. Focus on our behaviours.’
Get your ticket to see Chelsea Women vs Lyon Feminin in the Women's Champions League
The Blues come into tonight’s decider off the back of a rare setback, Man City victorious on Sunday in the WSL.
‘The response has been great,’ Eriksson replied when asked how the squad dealt with it.
‘We are very experienced in having games back-to-back so we know we can’t dwell too long on a defeat. Also it’s something we can’t ignore, so we’ve looked at it, we’ve looked inwards, we’ve talked about it, we’ve dealt with it, and now we’ve moved on and we’re ready for Lyon.
‘Playing in the Champions League is what us players dream about as kids. When you visualise and you go to bed, they’re the games you visualise about. You’re going to see a really hungry Chelsea who want to do the best we can.’
Eriksson admits being nervous before every game but says that is a good thing because it keeps her focused and on edge. She has been at the top of the women’s game long enough to know she can handle the pressure that comes with leading this outstanding side.
The Swede came off the bench in the first leg, replacing Millie Bright, and she endured a sticky moment when she lost possession cheaply and Lyon hit the post. With Ada Hegerberg set to feature tonight having been out for so long with, Eriksson knows not only is there is little room for error, the time for talking is over.
‘I’m not perfect, I don’t think any footballer is,’ she said.
‘It was a mistake from me. I was very pleased when I saw the ball didn’t go in the back of the net! I thought I had a chance to redeem myself and play solid and play well.
‘Those moments happen for every defender and goalkeeper a couple of times in their careers. The good thing is I’ve grown and learned not to let that affect the rest of my game, I park it and move on.
‘It’s going to be a great challenge [coming up against Hegerberg],’ she added. ‘I’m here for it.
‘Domestically we play almost on a weekly basis against some of the best strikers in the world. We are prepared for it as a team, but we also have to go out and do it.
‘We can sit here and talk about it but we have to show it on the pitch, show the Chelsea mentality we know we have in our group, which is doing things together. That’s what I want to see.’
The Blues are set to be cheered on by a record crowd for a Women's Champions League game at Stamford Bridge. There is still time to join those who have already bought tickets for the decisive second leg, which kicks off at 8pm. Tickets start at £9 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors, and are available now.