Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Champions League: Chelsea v Barcelona: Willian, Fabregas speak ahead of second leg

Lionel Messi Champions League: Messi ends drought against Chelsea to give Barca draw
Frederick Owens | 22 February, 2018, 00:56

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte rued the costly error which nullified his otherwise perfectly-crafted plan as Barcelona hit back to net a potentially priceless away goal in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 clash.

The Premier League side had looked to be heading for victory after Willian finished brilliantly in the 62nd minute at Stamford Bridge.

In the end, it took a wayward Andreas Christensen pass to undo Chelsea's defensive solidity.

In his press conference Conte was asked whether he regretted selecting Christensen and leaving club captain Gary Cahill on the bench but the Italian quickly defended his young defender. "I am very happy. For me he was one of the best players tonight".

"It will be very hard because it's not simple to play away against them but at the same time I think our performance must give us confidence". I am very proud for my players.

Barcelona are still as fearsome as ever even without Neymar, according to Chelsea attacker Willian.

Conte's decision to play with Eden Hazard as a "false nine" and have plenty of bodies in and around Barcelona's brilliant creators worked superbly as Willian gave them the lead they fully deserved just after the hour.

It's going to take a Jose Mourinho circa Inter 2009 display to come through this one.

"Against this opponent and type of player, like a (Lionel) Messi, an (Andres) Iniesta or a (Luis) Suarez, if you make a mistake then you pay". That was a performance of control, discipline and focused attacking, and they deserved to win even before Michy Batshuayi's added time victor.

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"In these kind of games you have to be smart", said the Uruguayan.

"Willian has the potential to play this type of game in every game", he added. Let us know in the comments section below.

"When you play in this way, the coach doesn't have a doubt and you play". It's a pity. tonight we were a bit unlucky.

Chelsea, who travel to Barca for the return leg on March 14, face second-placed Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

"We [need to] try to do something incredible at the Nou Camp".

"I don't remember a great save from Thibaut".

Willian rattled Ter Stegen's other upright before the break as Chelsea broke from their shackles, although an absorbing first period, in which Barcelona's best chance was a wayward Paulinho header from a Messi cross, ended goalless.

"I think we played a really good game and I must be pleased because my players made a great effort". We followed the gameplan.

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