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Emma Hayes expecting Chelsea to "suffer" against Lyon

Emma Hayes expecting Chelsea to
© Reuters
The Blues trail 2-1 following the away leg.

Emma Hayes is attempting to maintain a degree of normality as Chelsea Women prepare for what is arguably the biggest match in the club's history.

The Blues face Lyon Feminin in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on Sunday, hoping to reach the final for the first time but trailing 2-1 from the first encounter at Groupama Stadium.

First-half goals from Delphine Cascarino and Amandine Henry put the hosts in control in Lyon, although Erin Cuthbert's 72nd-minute reply sees Chelsea firmly in the running to reach next month's showpiece in Budapest.

Lyon – the defending and five-time Champions League winners – wrapped up a 13th-consecutive domestic league crown on Wednesday, but Hayes hopes playing the second leg at the rather-less salubrious surroundings of the Cherry Red Records Stadium can give her side a fighting chance.

"We will go about our business in the same way that we do every week," she told the club's official website.

"We know that we have got to improve and there is more to come from us.

"The challenge will be to raise that performance at home, probably in front of a packed crowd, because Lyon will come at us and throw everything they have got, so it's crucial that we raise our level and do everything we can to get to the final.

Emma Hayes hopes to lead Chelsea to the Champions League final for the first time
Emma Hayes hopes to lead Chelsea to the Champions League final for the first time (John Walton/PA)

"I want to challenge our fans and the players to make it so difficult for Lyon.

"Kingsmeadow is such a fortress for us and I think collectively we know we're going to suffer on Sunday, but the best things in life are not easy. We are going to have to fight with everything we have.

"Lyon have acknowledged that they weren't the best (in the first leg) and they are very confident that they will go to the final, so our team and our fans must do everything to stop that from happening."

Lyon are assessing the fitness of midfielder Henry after she sustained an injury in Wednesday's title-clinching 4-0 win at Dijon, but coach Reynald Pedros is bullish about his side's chances of reaching the final.

"We have to change our attitude a bit, especially defensively" he told the club's website.

"But these are things that are easily modifiable for us. There is nothing alarming.

"If we improve on that, the chances are we qualify. The girls know what is expected of them.

"We remain confident but it will take a lot to qualify, as in the first leg. There can be no relaxation in a European semi-final."

Hayes, whose preparations have included inviting a holocaust survivor to give a talk about resilience and humility at the training ground, has no injury concerns ahead of the match.


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City36302490226892
2Liverpool36287184206491
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs362311265362970
4Chelsea36208860392168
5Arsenal362061069492066
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd36198964511365
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves36159124644254
8Leicester CityLeicester36156155147451
9Everton36148145044650
10Watford36148145152-150
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham36137164554-946
12Crystal Palace36127174348-543
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle36119163645-942
14Bournemouth36126185265-1342
15Burnley36117184463-1940
16Southampton36911164461-1738
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3698193355-2235
18Cardiff CityCardiff3694233066-3631
RFulham3675243476-4226
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3635282074-5414

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