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Emma Hayes is right — Chelsea are due a sellout crowd

Chelsea set to host Barcelona on April 27

Chelsea soccer player Lauren James walks on the field in a team uniform
Photo Credit: Bettina Weissensteiner / SPP

Chelsea coach Emma Hayes may have just become the first manager in five years to guide a team to victory on Barcelona’s home turf, but you wouldn’t have known it from her post-match press conference.

There was no sense of celebration. No poems. No interest in mulling over the records her team had just broken. No time for relaxing. Her thoughts had immediately turned to April 27, when Chelsea host Barcelona for the return leg at Stamford Bridge with a chance to earn a spot in the UEFA Women’s Champions League final.

She had no interest in talking about what this 1-0 victory meant. Instead, she said it’s “essential” that they host a sellout at Stamford Bridge.

“I think it’s essential — we’ve watched many clubs sell stadiums in the biggest games,” Hayes said. “I think it’s crucial … I think our girls deserve it. They deserve to play in front of a full house to give ourselves the best possible chance because we are going to need them. Barcelona will throw absolutely everything at us. For us to progress, we need absolutely everything.”

As of Saturday night, 24,000 tickets had been sold for the match — short of the 40,000 capacity at Stamford Bridge. With their biggest game of this season looming, the club should grasp this golden opportunity with both hands.

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