Chelsea boss Emma Hayes remains hopeful her side can turn the tide against Barcelona after a 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Caroline Graham Hansen’s fourth-minute strike settled the encounter at Stamford Bridge, leaving the Blues needing a victory in the return leg on Thursday.
After a shaky start, Chelsea responded by keeping their opponents at bay, a far cry from the last meeting between the two sides in the 2021 final, where Barcelona were four ahead after 36 minutes.
As such, Hayes was encouraged by her side’s defensive display and remains hopeful for the return fixture.
“Barcelona are an amazing team. We had a disappointing start. But we grew into the first half, scored a goal that was offside, and we need to be perfect to beat these guys,” she said.
“In the second half we needed to be better on the ball in the right moments but I’m grateful to be in a position where the tie wasn’t over after 36 minutes. I see that as progress.
Plenty to play for in the second leg.#UWCL pic.twitter.com/vk7fCyPWIv
— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) April 22, 2023
“You have to suffer. You have to be without the ball. One switch off and positional error cost us the goal.
“They have different threats. I think we limited them to as few chances as we possibly could and I’ll take that going into the next game.”
Barcelona defender Lucy Bronze was forced off through injury in the second half, a cause of major concern for England given Friday’s announcement captain Leah Williamson would miss the World Cup with an ACL injury.
However, boss Jonatan Giraldez allayed those fears as he said after the game “the feeling is really good” for Bronze and her exit was precautionary.
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