Chelsea were well beaten in their first ever Champions League final appearance (Picture: Getty)A ‘gutted’ Emma Hayes admitted inexperience may have cost her Chelsea side after they were thumped 4-0 by Barcelona in the Women’s Champions League final which was ‘over before it began’.
The Gothenburg spectacle got off to the worst possible start from Chelsea’s perspective as Fran Kirby’s attempted clearance struck team-mate Melanie Leupolz and looped over Ann-Katrin Berger to break the deadlock inside 33 seconds.
The Blues’ crisis worsened just 10 minutes later as Alexia Putellas doubled Barcelona’s lead from the penalty spot after Leupolz was adjudged to have brought down Jennifer Hermoso inside the box.
A shellshocked Chelsea went further behind thanks to a pair of goals from Aitana Bonmati and Caroline Graham Hansen which put the game to bed after just 36 minutes.
Barcelona thumped Chelsea to win their first Champions League title (Picture: Getty)And while Hayes’ players picked themselves up to produce a positive second-half display in what was their first ever appearance in a European final, they looked despondent as referee Riem Hussein blew her whistle to signal full-time.
Speaking shortly after the game, Hayes said she was ‘proud’ of her side’s performance and congratulated ‘worthy winners’ Barcelona on lifting the trophy for the first time in their history.
‘It’s been a wonderful season for us, today was difficult because the game was over before it began and that’s what is so difficult to reflect on,’ the Chelsea manager told BT Sport.
‘To concede so early, we had two good chances and then they got the second through the penalty.
‘Ann hasn’t had a save to make but we’ve lost 4-0, but the damage was done, I’m proud of the second-half performance, the players gave it everything.
The Blues were four goals down after just 36 minutes in Gothenburg (Picture: Getty)‘Congratulations to Barcelona, they’re worthy winners, deserving of the title and it’s something we will learn from because this is the next step. We showed some naivety at times.
‘They were favourites for a reason and you have to stay in the game against this team. The early goal and the manner in which we conceded it… It’s an own goal and a penalty and we’re 2-0.
‘That’s the difference. Everything fell for them – they got the rub of the green and they made that happen. They’re a wonderful team… I certainly will be gracious in defeat.’
Chelsea failed in their quest to become only the second English team to complete a quadruple (Picture: Getty)Despite the emphatic defeat, Hayes insisted finishing as runners-up in the final and winning the Women’s Super League and the League Cup was a ‘step in the right direction’ for the club this season.
She added: ‘Being in this position helps because as I said to the players, look at the scoreboard. That’s got to be a motivating factor when they come back for pre-season because this will stay with them over the summer.
‘I felt calm coming into the game but I think some of the inexperience cost us. But they will grow and improve from that. They’re all really proud of the shift they put in.
‘We have won the double so we’re not trophyless, but I’m gutted we didn’t get the chance to actually make a game of it.
‘I did my best, I tried to coach the players and change a few things, just to give us a little bit of momentum.
‘We’re not quite European champions but we’re the second best and I’ll take that as a step in the right direction.’
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