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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Robert O'Connor

Millie Bright set to miss Chelsea’s Women’s Champions League clash with Paris FC


Chelsea captain Millie Bright is likely to miss her side’s Women’s Champions League meeting with Paris FC at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

Blues manager Emma Hayes confirmed Bright has a knee problem and, although it is not a serious issue, said the 30-year-old will also be a doubt for Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses squad for the upcoming Nations League games against the Netherlands and Scotland in the first week of December.

Bright had knee surgery prior to last summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where she skippered England to second place, before returning to pre-season training at Cobham ahead of the Women’s Super League season.

The defender, who took over as Chelsea skipper from Magdalena Eriksson for the new WSL season, featured in all seven matches as England finished runners-up behind Spain having not played a competitive game for club or country since March.

“I’ve made it clear that having so many games in quick succession, we’re managing our load,” said Hayes. “We wanted to give her a bit of extra time but I think she’s very much in doubt for (Thursday).

“Prior to the World Cup she had surgery on her knee, so preparation going into the World Cup wasn’t ideal. She rushed herself back.

“She’s come back and quickly into the Chelsea season, so perhaps she needed a little bit longer. Her knee’s a little bit angry at the minute. It’s not anything too detrimental, we’re just listening to her body and how it’s feeling.

“There’s a strong possibility (of missing the Lionesses’ games).”

Chelsea captain Millie Bright has a knee problem and could miss games for the Lionesses too
— (PA)

Hayes said she is yet to decide whether she will travel to the United States during the international break, following the announcement last week that she is to take over the US national team after standing down as Chelsea coach in May.

But she reiterated her stance that until then she remains committed to helping the club to a fifth straight WSL title and a first Champions League crown.

The team will be looking to get the first win of their European campaign against Paris following the controversial 2-2 draw with Real Madrid last week.

“I’m not watching (the US players), I’m watching my own team,” said Hayes. “That’s the work of the full-time team that are in place. I don’t start working for US Soccer until May.

“Since I’ve been appointed as the coach I’ve had conversations with people. There are full-time people in post in the US and I’ll be there in May. When the opportunity arises I will have conversations. But my full focus is on Chelsea.”

Striker Sam Kerr praised departing manager Emma Hayes ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Paris FC
— (Getty Images)

Striker Sam Kerr praised her manager’s impact on the club during her 12-year tenure.

“It’s obviously sad,” she said about Hayes’ departure. “Emma’s a great coach, a great leader and she’s been here for so long. But that’s football.

“Chelsea are very lucky that they’ve had her for as long as they have, but most of us in football are used to these things (managers leaving). We all wish her all the best (with the US).”

Hayes interjected: “Do you mean that?”

“No,” said Australia international Kerr.

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