Hayes hopes big Chelsea crowd can send Chelsea to UCL final

Hayes hopes big Chelsea crowd can send Chelsea to UCL final

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said on Friday she hoped the big crowd heading to Stamford Bridge would help her team beat Barcelona in the second leg of the Women’s Champions League semi-final on Saturday.

Chelsea announced later on Friday that the game was officially a sellout, marking the first time that the men’s team’s 40,000-capacity stadium would be sold out for a women’s game.

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Hayes’ side are hoping to book their place in their second Champions League final after winning the first leg 1-0 at Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium last week.

Hayes hopes big Chelsea

“We’re ready, we want to be in this position. I expect the crowd to help us because we’re going to need them,” Hayes said at a news conference Friday.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the fans tomorrow. Of course, I’m happy (about playing in front of a big crowd) because our girls deserve the opportunity, but for me, this is another step in the right direction of development for the women. game of.”

It would be Hayes’ last game at the iconic stadium before leaving the club after 12 years to become the new head coach of the United States women’s national team, and the Champions League is the only trophy he has not won during his tenure. Club.

Hayes hopes big Chelsea
Emma Hayes is hoping a sold-out Stamford Bridge can help her Chelsea team beat Barcelona to reach the Women’s Champions League final. Harriet Lander
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However, Hayes said that this would not give his team any additional momentum before the match.

“I think our players play for our badges; they play for their families, for each other; I’m part of that; I’m on a team; it’s not me, it’s us. These players are part of this football. “Play for the club to play for Chelsea in every game, not just in tomorrow’s game.”

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Hayes admitted he was looking forward to the tie, but also said he was not sure what to expect from Barça after the first-leg defeat, which saw the reigning European champions beat the defending champions at home for the first time in five seasons. Was defeated.

“The truth is I don’t know,” Hayes said. “All I can do is prepare the team for the possibilities. We can prepare for some tactical details, but we also have to play our game. Our game is not Barcelona’s game, and we want to become Barcelona. Not trying; no one is Barcelona.

“But that doesn’t mean you can’t win; it just means you have to play to your best strengths and recognize that no matter what Barcelona do, they will make everything happen.

“Do I expect changes tactically? Maybe personnel? Yes, definitely, 100%.”

After the first leg, Hayes said it was “essential” to host an important match in front of a packed crowd to once again improve their chances of reaching the final. Chelsea lost 4-0 to Barca in Gothenburg in the 2021 final.

“I think it’s necessary,” Hayes said. “Our girls deserve to play in front of packed crowds to give themselves the best possible chance because we need them. Barcelona will give everything for us.”

Chelsea had never sold out a 40,000-seat stadium in the Women’s Super League (WSL) before, but came close after hosting 32,970 fans for a 3-1 win over title rivals Arsenal in March.

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The record attendance for a women’s football match was 91,648 when Barça hosted Wolfsburg at the Spotify Camp Nou in April 2022 for the Champions League semi-finals.

Arsenal set an English attendance record after 60,160 fans watched the north London club beat Manchester United 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in February. It also broke Arsenal’s old record set for a 4–1 win over Chelsea in December, which had attracted a crowd of 59,042.

If Chelsea gets past the reigning European champions on Saturday, they could face Paris Saint-Germain or Lyon in the final in Bilbao next month.

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