Jonatan Giráldez: Barcelona ‘have to play our best game’ if they want to overcome a challenging Chelsea

The defending champions gear up for the ultimate test tomorrow evening, as Barcelona meet with Chelsea in the second leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal. The reverse fixture saw Barça Femení fall to their first home defeat in five years, as they now search to make up a 1-0 deficit heading into the West London clash.

Barça manager, Jonatan Giráldez, spoke to the media ahead of tomorrow evening’s meeting at Stamford Bridge, as he expressed that his side ‘have to play a good game and [have to] deserve to win the game.’

When asked whether the challenge may prove too much to overcome when looking to leap the penultimate hurdle of the competition, Giráldez was quick to assure that his side have climbed larger mountains over recent months. He said: ‘No, the most difficult challenge was last year in the Champions League final when we had to overcome a [two]-goal deficit. Tomorrow we just have to a win a game, it’s nothing exceptional.

‘I have lived through more difficult situations in my three years, as an assistant and as the manager. But this opposition is difficult. We have to play our best game.’

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The reverse fixture saw Chelsea march home to victory thanks to a brilliant strike from Erin Cuthbert in the first half of proceedings. When digesting the defeat, Giráldez expressed that ‘it was a very tight game, we didn’t create many chances. We will have to have more chances, and play a good game defensively.’

When asked whether his side have placed any focus on a potential penalty-kick situation if the draw were to come down to it, Giráldez said: ‘This is nothing exceptional, we have been practising them the whole season. We practice in training.’

Emma Hayes highlighted the importance of mental strength heading into the second leg of the race to Bilbao, something that Giráldez agreed with, whilst also expressing his adamance on the key importance of footballing performance.

‘For me, everything’s important: to play good football, to be mentally strong to overcome the difficulties. When things go well, everything is easier. In bad situations, we have to have the mental ability to turn things around.’

‘Because of our experience in these kind of games, the psychological side will be very important but the footballing side will also be key. We will see a great game with top players who will put out a great show.’

FC Barcelona will face Chelsea tomorrow evening in the highly anticipated final leg of the UEFA Women’s Champions League semifinal stages. Proceedings will be hosted at Stamford Bridge, as all heads underway at 17:30 BST.