Emma Hayes: English clubs still 'years' behind German Champions League giants
Chelsea Ladies boss Emma Hayes has warned it will take years to reach the same level as Europe's best women's teams.
Hayes' side lost 3-0 at home to Wolfsburg on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League last-32 tie.
Chelsea are playing in Europe for only their second season, while the German side have reached three of the past four finals.
"It just takes time. We all want it to happen quite quickly," said Hayes.
She told BBC Sport: "Wolfsburg have been doing this a little bit longer - we've had professionals for a year and a half. They have a budget that is probably three times bigger."
Hayes said English clubs still had "a lot of learning" to do.
She added: "We've gone from being a semi-professional game to a full-time game really, really quickly. We still need a few more setbacks and disappointments in order to grow from that."
Newly crowned English champions Manchester City Women host Russian side Zvezda-2005 in their first leg on Thursday, while Glasgow City begin their campaign at Swedish debutants Eskilstuna United.
Bayern Munich thrashed a young Hibernian side 6-0 at Easter Road on Wednesday.
German sides dominate in Europe
A German side has reached 14 of the 15 Women's European Cup finals, winning nine. Arsenal, winners in 2006-07, are the only British club to have ever knocked out a German club, beating Turbine Potsdam in 2012-13 before eventually losing to Wolfsburg.
Wolfsburg manager Ralf Kellerman - whose side knocked out Chelsea in the last 16 last season - said they did not expect to win so convincingly on Wednesday.
"We came here with a lot of respect," he said. "With a lot of games that we have seen them play, Chelsea would be at the top of the Bundesliga and I don't think they reached the level they can achieve in this game."
At international level, England beat Germany for the first time in 31 years in a third-place play-off at the 2015 World Cup in Canada.
'Back to the drawing board'
Hungary midfielder Zsanett Jakabfi's hat-trick saw Wolfsburg punish Chelsea for some poor defending at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea and England winger Gemma Davison added: "Playing teams like this is where you learn a lot.
"We know we have got a good team and we need to get to this level. We'll be going back to the drawing board."
Hayes added: "We're still learning. I remember Ralf Kellermann once saying it took four or five years. When I was at Arsenal, it took six or seven years."
Chelsea travel to Wolfsburg for the second leg on 12 October.