‘We know we have to suffer’ – Emma Hayes on Chelsea’s game at Barca
Chelsea travel to Barcelona’s Nou Camp knowing that just one win will be enough to reach the Women’s Champions League final.
The Blues are aiming to become the first English side to win the competition since 2007 but need to reverse Barcelona’s one-goal advantage given them by Caroline Graham Hansen’s impressive winner at Stamford Bridge. The odds are good against Chelsea, with Barcelona winning each of their last 18 home Champions League games as well as all five at the Nou Camp.
But Chelsea will draw confidence from restricting Barcelona in spells and doing enough to stay in the tie. Emma Hayes will seek a bolder approach as the English champions seek revenge for the 4-0 defeat by Barcelona in the 2021 Women’s Champions League final, with another crowd expected at the Nou Camp.
Follow live updates from Barcelona vs Chelsea in the Women’s Champions League below.
Barcelona vs Chelsea
Barcelona star Aitana Bonmati on the clash with Chelsea at the Nou Camp: “It would be great to reach our fourth Champions League final in front of our own fans at the Nou Camp. But we’re not making any progress. We have a small advantage, but we still want to win.
“We’re impatiently awaiting Alexia’s return, but everyone knows how important the game is to be able to reach our fourth final.”
Jamie BraidwoodApr 27, 2023 5:24 p.m
Barcelona vs Chelsea
Emma Hayes on the fitness of Fran Kirby, who has traveled with the squad despite missing out with a knee injury that could see her miss the World Cup.
“Fran wanted to come with the team,” Hayes said. “She’s part of the team. (It’s) great to have them with us. I don’t have any updates at the moment.
“She’s been on the turf a bit but we’re dealing with what that looks like on a day-to-day basis and I don’t have a timetable for her return.”
Jamie BraidwoodApr 27, 2023 5:21 p.m
Thoughts from Jonatan Giráldez ahead of the game
“If people think we’re already qualified, that’s understandable, but as a coach I didn’t say a word about Sunday [the chance to clinch the Spanish title against Sporting de Huelva] or the [Women’s Champions League] Final” said the Barcelona head coach
“I show the players what they can improve on. We have to forget the first leg and go for a win.
“[Bronze] has a burden, an illness. It’s a tiny intervention, just a few weeks… Alexia Putellas has a chance to make the squad but there is still [Wednesday] training and we have to think very carefully about what to do so that when she comes back she comes back well. At Alexia we take no chances.
“The priority is to qualify for the final. As a coach, I don’t take any chances if she’s not 100%.”
Mike JonesApr 27, 2023 5:14 p.m
Barcelona vs Chelsea
In other news, the Women’s World Cup has been embroiled in a major club-country row this summer after the European Club Association released a statement insisting players can only join their national teams 10 days before the tournament begins Australia and New Zealand.
The European Club Association (ECA), whose members include clubs in the English Women’s Super League, says it has “serious concerns” that players are not being given enough time to rest after the domestic season and will try to “settle themselves.” ‘ to comply with Fifa’s duty July 10 release period.
The news could deal a serious blow to England’s preparations as the Lionesses had planned to meet for their World Cup camp at St George’s Park a few weeks earlier in June. Sarina Wiegman had hoped the Lionesses have a farewell game in England in early July before arriving in Australia on July 7.
Jamie BraidwoodApr 27, 2023 5:05 p.m
Lucy Bronze is doing well after limping at Chelsea in Barcelona’s win
Jonatan Giraldez gave a positive update on Lucy Bronze after the England defender had to be substituted with a knee injury in Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge.
The Barca right-back winced as she limped away in the second half after falling to the ground with a right knee problem.
Bronze’s injury was a new scare for England manager Sarina Wiegman as both Beth Mead and Leah Williamson would miss the World Cup with tears in their eyes.
“She felt something in her knee at the beginning,” Giraldez said.
Mike JonesApr 27, 2023 4:56 p.m
Barcelona vs Chelsea: The return of Alexia Putellas?
Alexia Putellas returned to Barcelona training on Wednesday as the Spanish star and Ballon d’Or winner nears her comeback from last summer’s cruciate ligament injury.
The midfielder has not played for Barcelona since the Champions League final defeat by Lyon.
“We have to think very carefully about what to do to ensure that she comes back well when she returns,” said Barcelona head coach Jonatan Giráldez.
“We don’t take any chances with Alexia. Priority is given to qualifying for the final. As a coach, I don’t take any risks if she’s not 100 percent.”
Jamie BraidwoodApr 27, 2023 4:48 p.m
Emma Hayes says Chelsea are up for the challenge of bringing down Barcelona
The Catalan club are enjoying a perfect League F season, winning all 25 of their games and leading 1-0 in the semi-final against Chelsea after Saturday’s win at Stamford Bridge.
Considered one of the best women’s teams in Europe, Barcelona will be seen as favorites in front of over 65,000 spectators at the Nou Camp, with either Arsenal or Wolfsburg set to reach the final.
However, Hayes has backed her side to give their all against an opponent who beat Chelsea 4-0 in the Champions League final two years ago.
Mike JonesApr 27, 2023 4:40 p.m
Barcelona vs. Chelsea: Last time out
Luckily for Chelsea, last week’s first leg against Barcelona in the women’s Champions League wasn’t the repeat of the 2021 final it threatened to be at one point. Chelsea wanted to survive and will travel to the Nou Camp, still in a draw and only 1-0 down, but to win this semi-final they need to offer much, much more. The Blues are encouraged by how they have restricted and disrupted Barcelona at times, but a defensive, passive approach from Emma Hayes’ side means they need another miracle in the second leg.
Chelsea won’t fear such chances, but it will take something special to tip this. Chelsea initially couldn’t live with Barcelona, particularly the standout Caroline Graham Hansen, who sealed Barcelona’s 4-0 win in Gothenburg two years ago and returned here to terrorize Chelsea. Lifting the Barcelona bench off your feet and stunning this team of world stars takes something magical and that’s what the winger delivered with her wonderful opener after four minutes. It looked a long time back for Chelsea but they persevered.
Piece from Stamford Bridge
Jamie BraidwoodApr 27, 2023 4:34 p.m
Barcelona vs Chelsea
How will today’s clash in the women’s Champions League end? Can Chelsea reach the final?
Mike JonesApril 27, 2023 4:30 p.m
Team News Barcelona vs Chelsea
Barcelona XI: Panos; Torrejon, Paredes, Leon, Rolfo; Bonmati, Walsh, Guijarro; Graham Hansen, Caldentey, Oshoala
Chelsea XI: Berger; Perisset, Mjelde, Eriksson, Carter, Charles; Cuthbert, Leupolz; Fleming, Kerr, Riding
Mike JonesApr 27, 2023 4:23 p.m