EMMA HAYES paid a touching tribute to Chelsea fans and vowed her beaten Blues will bounce back from Champions League heartbreak.
And the Kingsmeadow boss described her team’s loss to Barcelona as another step in their journey after revealing her players’ post-match chat with club owner Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea succumbed to a 4-0 defeat to Spain’s title winners in their first final in Europe’s elite club contest.
And Hayes believes the performance of her side – who face Everton in the Women’s FA Cup – did not reflect the physical edge of the WSL.
Hayes said: “I think the physicality in our league that we have, we didn’t show that. So we’re disappointed.
“The realities are, if you don’t dominate enough of the first and second balls in any football match, you don’t deserve to win it, and I don’t think we did that.
“I think that’s what our dressing is most upset about.
"We’re a classy team and we behave I think as you should do when you’ve been beaten by a better team and that’s one that acknowledges what we need to do to improve.
"Our owner came in to see us. All the girls were very quick to tell him we’ll be back here and we’ll work hard on the training pitch to make sure we do that.
"If I know this group well enough I know they mean these words.
“And this is just another step in our journey, because – we talk about the disappointment – but we’re the second best team in Europe."
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Barcelona made history by being crowned as Spain’s first Women’s Champions League winners two years on from a 4-1 finals drubbing they endured against Lyon.
And the club’s victory entailed some standout displays including impressive wing play by Caroline Graham Hansen and Lieke Martens.
We wanted to be European champions and now we can say that we are
The result was the highlight of an outstanding season for the Lluis Cortes’s Catalan side who retained their La Liga Women’s Crown
And the Blaugranes did so after winning all 26 games they have played in Spain’s top tier with a match against ninth-placed Athletic up next.
Barca boss Cortes said: "It’s incredible, in Budapest last time (when we lost 4-1 to Lyon) we were like Chelsea were.
"There has been a lot of work since that day. That day we promised ourselves we would work a lot to be European champions.
"Behind us, there are many, many people and everyone has worked really hard for this goal.
“We wanted to be European champions and now we can say that we are."
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