16 May 2021

Emma Hayes: Chelsea showed ‘naivety’ in Women’s Champions League final loss to Barcelona

16 May 2021

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes admitted her side were naive in their 4-0 Women’s Champions League final defeat against Barcelona.

The Blues’ bid to win the competition for the first time was over by half-time following a ruthless first-half performance by their Spanish opponents.

Melanie Leupolz put through her own net after just 33 seconds in Gothenburg before Alexia Putellas doubled her side’s advantage from the penalty spot 14 minutes later.

Aitana Bonmati added a third after 20 minutes, with Caroline Graham Hansen tapping home a fourth nine minutes before the interval.

“Today was difficult because the game was over before it began and that is what makes it difficult to reflect on,” Hayes told BT Sport.

“The players gave it everything. Barcelona are worthy winners and deserving of their title. We will learn from it because this is the next step and we showed some naivety at times.

“You have to stay in the game against this team, and the early goal and the manner in which we conceded it and the penalty, and we were 2-0 down.”

Barcelona celebrate at the final whistle after winning the Champions League final (AP)

The defeat ended Chelsea’s quadruple bid, a week after they sealed the Women’s Super League title with a 5-0 victory over Reading. The Blues won the FA Women’s Super League Cup in March.

Hayes added: “Listen, we have won the double so it is not like we are trophy-less but I am gutted we didn’t get the chance to make a game of it.

“I said to the players, ‘Look at the scoreboard’ – and that has to be a motivating factor when they come back into pre-season because this result will stay with them over the summer.

“I felt calm coming into the game and I thought some of the inexperience cost us but they will grow from that and improve from that.

Chelsea players reflect on a sobering night in Gothenburg (PA Wire)

“I know I have a quiet dressing room now, but they are proud of the shift they put in.”

Chelsea defender Millie Bright said the players will be able to draw from the experience of their high-profile defeat.

She said: “It is obviously disappointing. We didn’t have the start we wanted and in these types of games against these opponents you cannot concede sloppy goals.

“They had four chances in the first half and put four in the back of the net. It is a massive learning curve but we are proud of our journey and what we have achieved.”

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