Chelsea manager Emma Hayes warned that Real Madrid will “fear nothing” when the two sides meet in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The Blues can secure qualification for the quarter-finals of the competition with a win against Real at Stamford Bridge, having won two and drawn two games already in Group D.
It has been a disappointing campaign for Real, who linger at the bottom of the table and they are unable to qualify for the last eight, but Hayes warned Las Blancas will be playing for their pride on Wednesday.
She told a pre-match press conference: “There’s nothing more dangerous than playing a team who has nothing to play for.
“They will fear nothing, they have their pride on the line and yes they’re playing for three points, but they can’t qualify. I think it’s a dangerous place for us if our mentality is to rule them out of the game and it’s something we won’t be doing.
“(It’s) critical (to win the group), we expect that for ourselves and we’re at home – I think everybody would expect us to be favourites going into the game.
“However it’s Real Madrid, they have a quality squad, a lot of internationals, they did score against us and draw with us in the reverse fixture so we know what we have to do.
“I always say to our players, let’s focus on that and put all our energy into making sure the performance is as good as it can be.”
Madrid’s sole point in the group so far came in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea in their opening game.
It played out in controversial circumstances, with Madrid awarded a penalty for a challenge outside the box before the Blues had a goal chalked off for an apparent offside, and Hayes is hoping for “strong officiating” this time round.
She said: “There was a goal scored legitimately that was an offside and a penalty that wasn’t inside the box.
“Let’s hope for strong officiating, that’s what the girls deserve tomorrow to make sure we’re not on the receiving end of poor official decisions.”
Hayes confirmed there are no new injuries for Chelsea and that midfielder Erin Cuthbert has been given the captain’s armband for the match.
Speaking about the decision, Cuthbert said: “I’ve had (the armband) a couple of times now, but it’s always an honour.
“I think nothing about me changes whether I’ve got the armband on or not, I’m still the same person and will conduct myself the same way.”