‘We’re under no illusions it will be tough’, says Erin Cuthbert of Chelsea’s clash with Ajax in the Champions League

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ERIN CUTHBERT hopes Chelsea can silence Ajax fans when they take on the Dutch giants in the Women’s Champions League quarters.

And the midfielder says it “would mean everything” if the Blues reached the contest’s in Emma Hayes’ last season at the helm.

Erin Cuthbert (centre) warns Ajax will be fearless foes for Chelsea with the Dutch side playing the Women's Champions League last eight for the first time

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Erin Cuthbert (centre) warns Ajax will be fearless foes for Chelsea with the Dutch side playing the Women’s Champions League last eight for the first timeCredit: Getty
The Blues duel with Ajax, who are second in the Netherlands' top tier, comes four days after their defeat of Arsenal in the WSL

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The Blues duel with Ajax, who are second in the Netherlands’ top tier, comes four days after their defeat of Arsenal in the WSLCredit: Getty
Ajax have become the second team from the Netherlands to reach the Women's Champions League quarter-finals for the first time

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Ajax have become the second team from the Netherlands to reach the Women’s Champions League quarter-finals for the first timeCredit: Alamy

Cuthbert was speaking to reporters on Monday ahead of Chelsea’s first-leg duel with their rivals at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Tuesday.

It’s the Dutch team’s first taste of the contest’s last eight phase.

The club progressed to the knockout phase after finishing second in Group C above Bayern Munich and Roma.

A record crowd for a women’s club game in the Netherlands is expected at their Amsterdam ground with 34,200 tickets sold so far.

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While Chelsea will draw on experience of performing in front of big crowds in Europe, Cuthbert warns they may face a fearless Ajax.

The Blues ace, whose side will face their rivals at Stamford Bridge in the second leg next Wednesday, said: “It’s their first time at this point in the competition.

“We can certainly use that experience as one sort of advantage factor.

“As a player, I certainly know that if I was in the competition for the first time, I’d be playing without fear.

“We need to be wary that they can play without fear, they’ve got nothing to lose, and we’ve got everything (to lose).

“We’ll be giving it everything to try and bring a result back to Stamford Bridge that we’re happy with.”

Boss Emma Hayes, added: “We’ve only had yesterday to prepare for this game.

“But the players’ experiences of being at this tournament have to count, because it is intimidating to play in front of 35,000 at a tight arena.

“For us, let’s draw on our experiences because it is important that we come through this tie in a really strong position.”

A last eight knockout of Ajax would see Chelsea pitted against either SK Brann or two-time contest winners Barcelona in the semi-finals.

Last year was the last time the Blues reached the tournament’s semis
 where they fell to a narrow 2-1 aggregate loss to Barca.

And the Catalan giants were the victors when both clubs reached the final for the first time back in 2021.

The biggest trophy for Europe’s elite clubs remains the only major piece of silverware to have so far eluded Hayes.

And Cuthbert hopes the Blues will fulfil their wish of lifting it with their gaffer before for her departure for a new job as boss of the USA Women’s team later this year.

She adds: “It would mean everything to get to the final and to go on and win it.

“But I’ve been at this club so long, it’s all about a process.

Emma Hayes' players hope to reach this term's Champions League semi-final where a two-leg test against SK Brann or Barcelona awaits

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Emma Hayes’ players hope to reach this term’s Champions League semi-final where a two-leg test against SK Brann or Barcelona awaitsCredit: Getty

“We’re in the quarter-finals now and it’s two ties that lie ahead

“Two tough games against a really tough team who have more than proved themselves at this level.

“We’re under no illusions, it’s going to be a tough game, but of course it’s hard not to dream a little bit.”



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‘We’re under no illusions it will be tough’, says Erin Cuthbert of Chelsea’s clash with Ajax in the Champions League

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