Women's Champions League: Chelsea v Atletico Madrid

Fran Kirby in action for Chelsea Women
Chelsea striker Fran Kirby has scored twice in the Women’s Champions League this season
Venue: Kingsmeadow Date: Wednesday, 3 March Kick-off: 19:00 GMT

Chelsea will not “underestimate” the challenge posed by Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Women’s Champions League, says boss Emma Hayes.

The Spanish side have knocked Manchester City out of the competition in the past two seasons.

“Every game is difficult, but this is certainly the opponent we wanted to face,” Hayes told BBC Sport.

Centre-back Millie Bright and forward Fran Kirby are both fit and available following injury lay-offs.

Women’s Super League leaders Chelsea, who did not play in the competition last season, last reached the quarter-finals in 2018-19.

The Blues beat Benfica 8-0 on aggregate in the last 32 while Atletico, who reached the quarter-finals for the first time last season, overcame Swiss outfit Servette to set up the meeting with the west London side.

“We’ve full respect for the work Atletico have done, certainly in how they knocked out Manchester City in the past two seasons,” said Hayes.

“We don’t underestimate them. I’d certainly rather have a tough test and see where we are at this stage of the season and we’re all just really looking forward to it.”

Atletico’s squad includes England’s Toni Duggan and former Chelsea goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, and Blues and England defender Bright is relishing the challenge.

“Any draw at this stage is tough,” said Bright. “It’s the Champions League, I don’t think there’s such a thing as an easy draw in this competition.

“It’s the draw we wanted. You’ve got to beat the best to be the best and it should be an exciting game over two legs.

“The Champions League is the big trophy that we want. It’s a competition we belong in, we’ve got the quality and the experience and we certainly don’t want to be out of it.

“We did a lot of watching and learning last season when we were out of it, so we’re keen to prove ourselves.

“It’s been a long time since I last faced Toni Duggan. She’s a great player and it will be great to see her.”

The second leg of the tie will be played in Monza, Italy, next Wednesday.

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