Tue. Jun 28th, 2022

BBC

Captain Magdalena Eriksson says Chelsea’s heavy Women’s Champions League final defeat by Barcelona last season will “fuel” their latest bid for European club football’s biggest prize.

Less than five months after being beaten 4-0 by Barca, Chelsea face Wolfsburg in the revamped competition which now includes a group stage.

“That final will always be with me,” Eriksson said.

“It still affects me today because it gets me motivated every day.”

The Swedish defender, 28, says no-one at Chelsea has “dwelled” on the defeat, but it remains a valuable “learning experience”.

“We know we have the quality in our squad to win it [the Champions League], and that will be our goal again this year,” she said.

“It’s fuel for us, we know we have the quality to reach the final as we did it last year. We know we can play better than we did in that final.”

‘A massive step for women’s football’

A major change to the Women’s Champion League this season sees the previous two-legged knockout format replaced with a competition that now starts with a group stage before progressing to a knockout phase.

Chelsea begin their campaign against familiar rivals Wolfsburg, who they got past at the quarter-final stage last season having previously had three Champions League campaigns ended by the Germans.

Group A also includes Italian champions Juventus and Swiss Women’s Super League title winners Servette.

Eriksson said she feels “privileged” to be be among those “making history” by playing in the first round of group games.

“This is a massive step for women’s football,” she said.

“I watched the men’s Champions League growing up, and for me this has been something I’ve always thought about ‘why don’t we have a group stage?’ It is such a good format.”

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes says she is “excited” by the change for what she anticipates will be their toughest campaign in Europe yet.

“I love the fact that every game is going to be really competitive from the start rather than have to wait until the quarter-final stage,” she said.

“We feel experienced and used to playing in this competition. We are not surprised by anything that happens in it, but we also know that any team can knock you out.

“There are 10 or 12 top teams in Europe, Wolfsburg being one of them and Juventus is another tough game in our group. You have to be at your best, but I think we have collective wisdom of a number years now.”

By Nwosu Chizoba David

Nwosu Chizoba David is an entertainment and football lover, promoter, analyst and writer. He aspires to make a name in the media company. He is the CEO of Soccercruz (News site, Podcast, Radio and Television). email: zobanwosu88@gmail.com, phone number: +2348063046744.

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