Chelsea's UEFA Youth final 'an absolute disaster' - coach Joe Edwards
Chelsea under-19s coach Joe Edwards described his team's UEFA Youth League final performance as "an absolute disaster" after they were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in Nyon, Switzerland.
Two goals from Alejandro Marques and a late strike from Abel Ruiz were enough for Barcelona, who last lifted the trophy in the inaugural competition in 2014, to triumph again on Monday despite a spirited second-half rally from Chelsea that saw them hit the crossbar twice.
Despite acknowledging the "fantastic achievement" of his players in reaching a third UEFA Youth League final in four years, Edwards did not hold back in his assessment of Chelsea's sub-par display.
"It was an absolute disaster from start to finish, it was so unlike us," he said. "I don't want to be too damning across the board on the lads because it is a fantastic achievement to get to the final of this competition.
"We had a message from Frank Lampard before the game, saying that once you get to a final and you don't win, you wish you hadn't got there because it hurts so much. Frank is right.
"We spoke about the fact there wouldn't be any shame in losing to Barcelona if we could walk in and say we gave everything we could.
"Unfortunately we didn't get anywhere near the standards we normally set for ourselves. Physically, we didn't look as sharp as them, on the ball we were poor and they really punished us today."
Chelsea take on Arsenal under-18s in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final at Stamford Bridge on Friday as they bid to lift the trophy for the fifth consecutive year, matching the record set by Manchester United.
"A lot of those players get to go out and play Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Friday," Edwards added. "For some of those who don't have that option, today will prey on their mind for a long time.
"Sometimes after a setback, the best thing is to get out on the pitch as soon as possible and put it right. Hopefully the boys will be celebrating lifting a trophy on Monday [after the second leg]."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.