PER­FEC­TION.OR EJEC­TION

Conte: Beat­ing Barca would only mat­ter if we then went on and won the tour­na­ment..

Daily Mirror - - SPORT - FROM JOHN CROSS Chief Foot­ball Writer in Barcelona

AN­TO­NIO CONTE has warned his play­ers they will have to play the per­fect game to stand any chance of knock­ing out Barcelona.

Conte (left) came close to pulling off a vic­tory in the first leg, but one de­fen­sive mis­take gifted Lionel Messi a pre­cious away goal to leave Chelsea need­ing a mi­nor mir­a­cle in the Nou Camp. But, de­spite the odds be­ing stacked against them, Conte in­sists that even vic­tory would not be the best re­sult of his man­age­rial ca­reer. The Blues boss claims tro­phies are the only thing that mat­ter to him and ul­ti­mately he may need the Cham­pi­ons League to keep him in a job this sum­mer.

Conte said: “Yes, I think the first leg, in the first game, we played a re­ally good game and al­most a per­fect game.

“When you play against Barcelona, against a team I con­sider one of the best in the world, if you want to have any hope to win the game, you have to play a per­fect game. In the first leg we did this.

“When we made a mis­take, we paid a lot for this mis­take. For sure, the fi­nal re­sult of the

first leg gave a great ad­van­tage to Barcelona. But, at the same time, we know very well the phi­los­o­phy of Barcelona.

“They want to play their foot­ball, to score and to win the game. We have to do our best.

“We must start the game with great con­cen­tra­tion, to stay with our heads on the pitch in ev­ery mo­ment of the game, to know there are mo­ments where we have to suf­fer – not only Chelsea, but ev­ery team who play Barcelona must be pre­pared to suf­fer, to be com­pact.

“Then, when we have the ball, we must have the feel­ing in our heads to try to create a chance to score.”

It was An­dreas Chris­tensen’s clumsy back­pass that ru­ined Chelsea’s night. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw at Stam­ford Bridge last month and leaves the Blues need­ing to score this evening.

Six years ago, Chelsea drew 2-2 in the Nou Camp to knock out Barcelona on the way to win­ning the Cham­pi­ons League. That re­sult went down in folk­lore and will surely give them hope.

A re­peat would cer­tainly change the mood sur­round­ing Conte and the ex­pec­ta­tion that he will leave this sum­mer.

But the for­mer Italy boss, who has won four league ti­tles in his ca­reer with Ju­ven­tus and Chelsea, in­sisted that knock­ing out Barcelona would not go down as one of his best mo­ments – un­less they ended up win­ning the tro­phy. He added: “In my ca­reer, I con­sider an achieve­ment when you win some­thing. I think this is a big achieve­ment for a man­ager, for a coach. In this case, we are talk­ing about the last 16.

“For sure, we have to make a great game if we want to have a chance to go into the next round. We are play­ing against Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world.

“They are win­ning the league, they are in a fi­nal of the Span­ish Cup.

“They have all the char­ac­ter­is­tics to have a great sea­son. But, as you know very well, you are never sure with foot­ball. For this rea­son, I re­peat, like the first leg, we want to try to play our foot­ball and try in ev­ery mo­ment we have the ball to create chances, to score, to create prob­lems for Barcelona.”

Chelsea for­ward Wil­lian said: “I was watch­ing that game in 2012. But, for me, ev­ery game has its his­tory. This game is in the past. The game now will be an­other his­tory, a new story. A new game.

“I think for us to go through we have to do a per­fect game with the ball and with­out the ball.

“That’s the most im­por­tant thing to get through to the next round – a per­fect game.”

FAB TIME FOR BLUES Cesc Fabre­gas en­joy­ing train­ing in the Nou Camp with his team-mates yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.