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Emma Hayes claims ‘better team lost’ as Chelsea go out to Barcelona

Emma Hayes was proud of her side  (REUTERS)
Emma Hayes was proud of her side (REUTERS)

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes felt her team deserved more after a 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the Nou Camp was not enough to send them through to the Champions League final.

With Barca leading 1-0 from the first leg, Caroline Graham Hansen’s second goal of the tie proved enough despite Guro Reiten quickly equalising on the night and Chelsea pushing for more.

Hayes said on chelseafc.com: “I can’t ask any more of our players. I said to them at the end that they should all be proud to be Chelsea, because the better team lost tonight.

“Coming into the tie, with 72,000 fans here, we knew it wouldn’t be easy but, by not conceding early, we gave ourselves a chance to build. We grew into the game, we got more aggressive and we created some good chances.

“It wasn’t quite enough and I’m stood here now just absolutely gutted to be totally honest.”

Barcelona will take on either Arsenal or Wolfsburg in their third-straight Champions League final having won their only title with a 4-0 success against Chelsea in 2021.

Hayes’ side showed they have grown in stature since then and the aim will be to keep improving as they bid to turn domestic supremacy into a continental title.

“I want more in terms of the result but I can’t ask for more in terms of effort and heart,” said Hayes. “The girls gave everything and executed everything we asked for in terms of a game plan.

“There’s plenty of learnings we can take, especially from the first leg, but there’s also so many things to take heart from.

“It’s really gutting and we have to deal with the disappointment, learn from it and grow.”

Chelsea’s focus now returns to domestic matters and their bid to hold off Manchester United and win the league and cup double for a third-straight season.