England legend Karen Carney has backed English clubs to strike back in next season’s women’s Champions League, as she believes two contenders are ready to take on the best in Europe.
“If you look at the squads Manchester City and Chelsea have put together, they would easily be in the semi-finals and final of this competition. They are having to wait to prove that and I’m sure they will next season,” she told us.
“They are building towards success in the Champions League next season. The rumours of the players they are looking to add to their squads suggest they will be real forces in the women’s game moving forward. I would tip one of them to win it next season.”
The women’s game appears to have lost some of the momentum following the Covid-19 shut-down. But Carney believes the return of fans to women’s matches may not be far away in England.
“I think with all sports, all sports, the tap has been turned off and momentum has been lost,” she added. “We now realise as broadcasters and media people how difficult it is when you don’t have crowds or the right support behind you.
“The football experience is more than just the 90-minute game. For a lot of people, it has been difficult to watch without crowds. But we have to look to bring people back into stadiums when the time is right.
“For now, we have to be happy to have matches on TV again and BT Sport have covered this Champions League tournament with real class.
“The amount of time they have given it has been great for women’s football. The quality of football has been good in difficult circumstances.
“You have to consider that Atletico Madrid only started training four days before their quarter-final with Barcelona. They had six Covid cases in their squad, they had eight new players who had not played with them before and yet they put up a good performance and were a credit to the women’s game.
“Now we have a great final to look forward to. Lyon and Wolfsburg should be a great game between two top teams that play with two very different styles. It should be a classic match.”
By Matt Johnson
Watch the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final exclusively live from 6:30pm on BT Sport 1. Also watch for free via the BT Sport app, btsport.com, or BT Sport’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages.