Chelsea have been the most dominant women’s side in England for some time but is their current squad the best they’ve ever had?
Blues boss Emma Hayes certainly thinks so, as she proclaimed after Chelsea’s convincing win against Real Madrid in the Women’s Champions League.
Goals from Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert helped the hosts to a 2-0 win at Kingsmeadow — moving them five points clear of PSG at the top of Group A.
What did Emma Hayes say?
Hayes has recently returned to the sidelines, having been forced to have surgery earlier this season, as part of her ongoing battle with endometriosis.
And her team have been in fine form since her comeback — beating Tottenham at Stamford Bridge last weekend, before outplaying Madrid, who were unbeaten heading into the match.
“This team is on another level,” stressed Hayes.
“This is the best squad we’ve ever had. I think that learning from previous years and learning from losing in the final [in 2021] helped.”
KINGSTON UPON THAMES, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 23: Sophie Ingle () of Chelsea FC Women scores their team’s opening goal during the UEFA Women’s Champions League group A match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid at Kingsmeadow on November 23, 2022 in Kingston upon Thames, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
VIDEO: Erin Cuthbert scores vs Real Madrid
She added that her side are getting more used to playing European football now, having never won the competition before.
“I think a couple of years ago we’d have got impatient, especially in the first half.
“It was a calm dressing room at half-time. When these two teams are so relatively matched, I’m starting to see the importance of our experience.
“We certainly play better European football, we’re becoming more accustomed to it.”
How did Chelsea beat Real Madrid?
Chelsea beat PSG and Vllaznia in their opening two Champions League fixtures and followed this up with another impressive performance.
Madrid are a strong outfit and knocked out Man City to qualify for the competition this season.
But despite failing to break the deadlock in the first half, Ingle’s opener calmed the nerves and the Blues were comfortable thereafter.
KINGSTON UPON THAMES, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 23:
Erin Cuthbert (C) of Chelsea FC Women celebrate with team mates after scoring their team’s 2nd goal during the UEFA Women’s Champions League group A match between Chelsea FC and Real Madrid at Kingsmeadow on November 23, 2022 in Kingston upon Thames, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Can Chelsea win the Champions League?
Chelsea have won five Women’s Super League titles under Hayes as well as four FA Cups.
However, they are yet to win the Champions League and remain in search of their first European triumph.
The Blues came close two years ago when they reached the final but were thrashed by Barcelona in Gothenburg on a night to forget.
Last season, Hayes’ side failed to get out of the group, yet there is hope that this season they can challenge for the trophy.
Chelsea look almost certain to reach the knockout stages and with Hayes admitting this is the best side she’s ever had at her disposal, perhaps this could be their year.
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