The visiting Lyon team who pitch up at Kingsmeadow today to contest the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea will be served better food than the Blues were given in France!
Manager Emma Hayes, speaking ahead of this afternoon’s 2pm kick-off game – with Chelsea trailing 2-1 from last Sunday’s first leg in Lyon – revealed that the squad had been served poor-quality, inadequate refreshments after the first match, which hardly put them in a mood to be charitable to the reigning European champions this Sunday!
“The post-game food was excruciating!” said Hayes. “You climb aboard [the plane] with 49 people who are starving, and the mood was – what do you call it – ‘hangry’!
“The Pringles came out of a back cupboard. Lyon’s catering is… well, it’s fair to say, they were having some trouble with their ovens, and no vegan options!”
Looking ahead to the second leg, Hayes conceded that Lyon have impressive firepower, but believes Chelsea can match them in all departments. “We just have to overturn that scoreline,” she said.
Was winning the Champions League Chelsea Women’s top priority at the start of the season? “Never,” insisted Hayes. “Winning your [domestic] league is your bread and butter, but we started so poorly we could never recover, so then does it become the next priority? Of course it does,” she said, referring to the Blues’ mystifying string of draws and dropped points at the start of this season.
“I felt this was a good year for the Champions League. I feel Chelsea are the best team in Britain; even against Man City we were the better team. They didn’t have a shot [in the FA Cup semi-final], apart from the [Magda Eriksson] own-goal. I still think on any given day we’ll beat any team in the country.
“We have even better resilience than last year. Our performances have been consistent and solid. Lyon’s position is not permanent – they won’t stay at the top forever. We’re more ready to win a Champions League than we were 12 months ago.”
Captain Kaz Carney also believes Chelsea can triumph today. “I 100% believe we can be in the final, and can win it. I know we can do it. We’ll have to do it the hard way, because everyone expects them to do it. But why can’t we? We’re Chelsea Football Club.”