Emma Hayes has hailed Chelsea’s 3-0 UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final second leg win over VfL Wolfsburg as her favourite victory as manager of the South West Londoners.
Goals from Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby helped Chelsea to a 3-0 second leg win and 5-1 aggregate success over the German side as they secured their place in the last four of this season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League with a convincing attacking performance at the Szusza Ferenc Stadion in Budapest.
In the post-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Hayes said that she has ‘waited nine years’ for a win like this one to come along.
She said “I’ve waited nine years for this moment. I always thought they (Wolfsburg) were the benchmark for women’s football alongside Lyon and we have faced them so many times and felt humiliated.
“Today however, we have shown that we are growing up in Europe. Today would probably rank as my favourite win in charge of Chelsea.
“People have been here since the beginning and it’s even the greatest moment for them.”
In the end, The Blues sealed their place in the last four with a convincing win in Budapest but the 2-1 first leg scoreline left the game open to either side being able to progress.
Hayes added “Our back four were peppered last week and it was probably the poorest defensive performance I have seen but they knew that they were responsible and owned their mistakes.
“They prepared in the right way and studied hard for today. Millie (Bright) and Magdalena (Eriksson) were excellent at centre-half today, they made Ann’s (Berger) life in goal much easier for sure.
“Jess Carter is another one that has been superb in training and she was ready when called upon.
“I’m fully aware that picking a non-regular starter is extremely difficult in games like today but if you want to win these big tournaments, then Jess Carters are what you need because if you don’t train or you aren’t ready, it can come back to bite you.
“I thought as a whole team we were exceptional today.”
Ji So-yun and Beth England are two players who have both featured regularly in the UEFA Women’s Champions League this season but started this game on the bench. Hayes commented on the importance of having squad depth, especially for being involved in games so crucial like these.
“It’s important that we have a good depth of squad rotation,” said Hayes. “Beth (England) was eligible to play today but I didn’t have to use her.
“For Ji, the game plan I wanted to play, someone had to be sacrificed. She is such a great squad player though that when I called her to come on, she went on and once again showed us all her class.”
Chelsea return to Barclays FA Women’s Super League action on Sunday when Birmingham City are the visitors to Kingsmeadow.