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Emma Hayes insists she is not thinking of a fairytale ending at Chelsea as the Blues aim for Champions League glory against ‘world-class’ Barcelona.

  • Chelsea face Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final
  • The legendary Blues boss is set to leave the club at the end of the season.
  • Chelsea are a “CESSPIT of excessive egos”… Will Pochettino transform bickering young people into a harmonious team? Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast

Emma Hayes insisted she wasn’t thinking about fairy tales and called on her Chelsea team to play with their heads rather than their hearts as they prepare to face European champions Barcelona .

The Blues face the first of a two-legged Champions League semi-final with the Catalans on Saturday at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, who eliminated them at the same stage of this competition last season.

Hayes will leave the Blues at the end of the season and is desperate to win the one trophy that has eluded him during his 12 years in charge, but cannot allow himself to think of a magical end to his tenure.

“You have to participate to compete. We always knew we had to face Barcelona at some point. We are happy that it is our turn in the semi-final.

“We understand the team and the opponent. They are world class with incredible players but I don’t think of fairy tales.

Emma Hayes insisted she wasn’t thinking about fairy tales as her Chelsea side took on Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final.

Hayes is expected to leave the Blues at the end of the season as she takes on the role of head coach of the USWNT.

Hayes is expected to leave the Blues at the end of the season as she takes on the role of head coach of the USWNT.

The Blues face the first of a Champions League semi-final with the Catalans on Saturday.

The Blues face the first of a Champions League semi-final with the Catalans on Saturday.

“Barcelona are world champions at international level and European champions at club level. They deserve all the accolades they have got, but it’s a football match.

“There are two legs. All our work has been to put ourselves in a position to come here in the competition.

“We won’t do it (win) by playing with our hearts, we have to play with our heads.”

Barca have reached the last three finals, winning two, including a 4-0 win over Chelsea in 2021. Hayes believes they will leave a lasting legacy in women’s football, but added that the Catalans have a superior budget to that of the English teams.

“I think the Barcelona team will go down in history as one of the greatest women’s teams of all time. I always speak with such pride about what we have done because I think when I am arrived at this position, Chelsea were ranked 150th in the world, something like that.

“I think we are one of the few teams in the world and we have built our team over a long period of time to get here. I think it was our team that built the coefficient for England and did well successful in the final stages.

“I quote, I remember reading Jonas Eidevall saying this about Barcelona and Lyon, believe me, their budgets are significantly bigger than any English team.

“There is still a financial gap between Barcelona and Chelsea and Barcelona and Arsenal and City. I think we are doing very well to be in the position we are in.

Barcelona have reached the last three Champions League finals, winning two, including a 4-0 victory over Chelsea in 2021.

Barcelona have reached the last three Champions League finals, winning two, including a 4-0 victory over Chelsea in 2021.

Hayes is desperate to win the one trophy that has eluded him during his 12 years in charge

Hayes is desperate to win the one trophy that has eluded him during his 12 years in charge

Hayes will have Chelsea star Lauren James at his disposal against Barcelona

Hayes will have Chelsea star Lauren James at his disposal against Barcelona

“That’s why I think if our league continues to grow, if we continue to sell our stadiums, if we continue to generate revenue and if we close the gap financially between the top two in Barcelona and Lyon, then I think we will see more English teams reaching the latter stages of the competition.

“But I also think Barcelona is a generation that deserves the credit they get, not just Barcelona but Spain. They’ve done incredible things on the pitch. So to be the only team to get a draw against them in four years, I am proud of it.

“I think people don’t realize how difficult it is to play against them. Everything we learned, we will try to use it to the best of our ability tomorrow.

Hayes will have Lauren James and Millie Bright available for selection, with both players having traveled to Spain on Friday. The Blues will continue to be without Nathalie Bjorn and Maren Mjelde, while goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger has joined American club Gotham FC on a permanent transfer.

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