The champions of Europe Lyon await Emma Hayes and her Chelsea Women side tomorrow night and the head coach believes her squad are in a good place to meet that challenge face on.
The first leg of what promises to be a thrilling Women’s Champions League quarter-final tie takes place at the OL Stadium on Wednesday evening. Hayes and her squad touched down in France’s third-largest city this afternoon and she was soon answering questions from the media, eagerly awaiting the tie of the round on the eve of the first meeting in eight days.
Hayes was consistent in her messaging throughout, acknowledging the strength of opposition we face – remember Lyon have won the Champions League eight times, including six of the last seven – while underling her team’s capabilities.
‘Playing OL is a wonderful opportunity for us,’ she said.
‘We respect their experience as former winners over several years. We know they’re an experienced team, but I’m interested in my own team imposing themselves on the game.
‘This is over two legs. Tomorrow for both teams will be about understanding each other a little bit better. But we’re ready.
‘We knew when the draw was made it didn’t matter who we got. At this stage these are the top teams in Europe. We’re prepared, we’re ready, no matter the opponent.
‘We’ve been waiting ever since the draw was made and we’re looking forward to it.’
This the second time we have faced Lyon in the Champions League. Our prior meeting was back in 2019 at the semi-final stage, when lost 2-1 in France before being held to a 1-1 draw back at Kingsmeadow, despite creating several chances to win the game and even the tie.
Hayes explained why she isn’t too fussed about getting one back on the French champions, and is instead focused on building on the impressive work we displayed in the group stages prior to Christmas.
‘I don’t spend my time thinking about revenge in life. I look at life as lessons and learnings. This team has learned a lot over time. We are ready for whatever game is presented to us tomorrow.
‘It’s a team that is constantly learning, no matter the competition. The fact we’re competing for almost every trophy we are taking part in shows how much this team learns on a regular basis.
‘The group stage there were lots of things to reflect and build on, and hopefully that’s put us in a better position going into the knockout stages.’
The second leg against Lyon is at Stamford Bridge next Thursday 30 March and tickets for the game are on sale now, with prices starting at just £9 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors.