Barcelona head coach Lluis Cortes says that his side are in a different place in terms of their confidence going into this evening’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final against Chelsea in Gothenburg.
The Catalan club were defeated 4-1 by Lyon in their only other final appearance in Budapest in 2019.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference at the Gamla Ullevi Stadium ahead of this weekend’s final, Cortes said that his side have learnt lessons from their experiences in 2019 and they go into this evening’s clash with Chelsea in much more confident mood.
“The feelings are very different from the final in Budapest,” Cortes said. “I think that we had fear and we showed too much respect to the opponent. The team are now very confident but playing Chelsea will not be easy.
“The key is to treat this match like any other match. Many of the players have played important games throughout their careers both at club level and at international level so they are prepared. It is not a game where I have to motivate the players, I think we are all very motivated for the match.
“We have our strong points which we have to use to our advantage and we know our opponents’ strong points which we have to work on and pay maximum attention to.”
Cortes went on to discuss the Champions League as a competition. He said that Lyon are no longer the team to beat whilst acknowledging the work being done by English clubs in their respective bids to become dominant forces in Europe.
He added “Many teams are investing a lot of effort into the women’s game. In the English game, you have Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United who have big projects. Lyon are no longer the ones to beat, there are many teams who can reach the Champions League final. It has been even harder to get there this season.
“Winning the Champions League would be a great prize and recognition for a lot of hard work that has been done by our football club. Regardless of if we win or lose, we have to keep working hard, keep growing and showing the right attitude and we will get the recognition that we deserve.
“After the defeat in Budapest, we decided to work harder and we have done that. We have all made a lot of sacrifices but here we are in the final. It would bring great joy to all of the Catalans if we are to become European champions.”
The 2020/2021 UEFA Women’s Champions League final between Chelsea and Barcelona kicks-off at 8pm and will be broadcast by BT Sport on a free-to-air basis on BT Sport 1, the BT Sport App and on the BT Sport YouTube channel.