Emma Hayes believes the UEFA Women’s Champions League tie between Chelsea Women and Paris Saint-Germain will be a brilliant spectacle while also saying she is confident about her side’s progress into the next round.
Chelsea Women were handed a tough assignment in the draw last week when they will face the Parisians in the two-legged quarterfinal match-up due to be played in March next year. Having reached the final of the competition twice in the last two years, PSG are definitely no pushovers in the continental scene yet Hayes says she is relishing the prospect of meeting one of the best clubs in Europe right now, adding that her charges are well-equipped to go one better than the French side.
“I think it’s a great draw: Chelsea versus PSG in the quarter-finals of the Champions League,” says the Chelsea Women boss. “The best players want to play in the best games, and this is certainly one of them. I don’t think it matters who you draw at this stage, because they are all top teams.
“Paris are the second best team in France, they’re full of internationals and while there may have been easier opponents to face, we’ll go into the tie confident. We’ve been building our way through this competition and we are better prepared than ever to go one step further.”
Indeed, the Blues go into the tie next year on the back of a spectacular Ro16 tie against Fiorentina, including a 6-0 demolition of the Italians in the second leg that saw Fran Kirby bag a hat-trick, en route to a 7-0 aggregate victory. It is the second quarterfinal appearance of Chelsea in their fourth consecutive appearance in the competition and while this is the first time they are facing PSG in the tournament, Hayes cites the numerous match-ups between the two club’s men’s teams in the Champions League as a great rivalry and believes this will translate into the upcoming women’s showdown.
“I’m sure they’ll be confident,” continues Hayes, “but I feel fully confident we can progress if we can keep applying ourselves the way we are. We’ve become tougher to beat. There’s a good rivalry between the two clubs, with the men’s teams having met several times in the Champions League, and I think it will be a brilliant spectacle.”
If they beat PSG, Chelsea will face an eyewatering tie against either Lyon or Wolfsburg in the semifinal but Hayes insists she is only focused on their quarterfinal opponents in the competition.
“You’ve just got to take one game at a time so there’s no point looking ahead to either of them,” added the Chelsea Women boss. “We’ve got to focus on beating Paris – that’s my sole focus when it comes to this competition. We need to keep improving and if we do that we’ll be closer to the top teams.”