Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said that a lack of quality in both boxes cost her side as they slipped to a 4-0 defeat to Barcelona in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final in Gothenburg last night.
The Blues were behind after just 30 seconds following a freak Melanie Leupolz own goal before Barcelona went on to score three further goals inside the first 37 minutes.
It was a hugely disappointing night for Chelsea who fell at the final hurdle in their ongoing quest to become champions of Europe.
Speaking in the post-match press conference in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, Hayes said that her side had been poor in both boxes over the course of the 90 minutes.
“We’re double winners this season, we have had an exceptional season,” Hayes said. “I think the disappointment that will be felt in the dressing room is that the game was over before it began and that’s difficult because when you end up having to chase a game, it becomes transitional or you are one v one everywhere. I thought we did really well at that.
“What I didn’t think that we did well was defend our box when it came down to it and I didn’t think that we were good enough in theirs so that’s why we don’t win the game. That’s something that we have prided ourselves on, it’s something that if we want to go up to another level then we have to reflect on what it takes to do that because I think that the better team won the game.
“For us, we have to close the gap against them. They had the pain two years ago and it showed.”
Hayes did not shy away from the fact that conceding so early resulted in her side facing a monumental task. She went on to admit that the game was as good as over within the first 20 minutes.
She added “You’ve got to remember that one was an own goal, one was a penalty and conceding so early gave us an uphill battle, it was so early in the game to concede. It makes it difficult to impose yourself when a team have the momentum of being two up in 15 minutes, that’s difficult.
“Congratulations to Barcelona, they are worthy European champions, I thought their experience counted. I thought that they were exceptional in both boxes.
“It was one of those games where it felt like everything fell to them, everything and I think the early goals really took a lot out of the team.
“I was really proud of them in the second half. I asked them at half-time to treat the game as if it was 0-0 because to be 4-0 down when they’ve had four chances, I don’t think I’ve seen that before with a Chelsea team. As disappointed as I was, I just wanted to see the character of the players in the second half and they gave me that.”
Chelsea end the 2020/2021 campaign with a Vitality Women’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Everton at Kingsmeadow on Thursday evening.