Antonio Conte: 'Chelsea were close to perfect against Barcelona'

Cesar Apilicueta was tremendous for Chelsea as Lionel Messi and Barcelona were thwarted for long periods at Stamford Bridge- but then he missed one interception and the great man pounced

"I think we were very close to playing the perfect game", said Conte.

The Uruguayan was actually pretty quiet in the game and nullified for large spells by Andreas Christensen and the like in Chelsea's backline.

He isn't keen on his main striker for the second time in two seasons.

Meanwhile, Chelsea goalscorer Willian said they must go on the attack at Nou Camp next month to have any chance of reaching the quarter finals.

"It's a shame. We go home thinking we completed good work and should be proud, but [we are] sad - 1-0 or 2-0 would have been a fantastic result". "When you prepare a plan with them - the idea is the coach's to prepare, but you must have a conversation with them and show them videos so they understand why we're doing this plan".

"At least we won't be able to think defensively about the second leg because if we think defensively over there, we would be in a lot of danger", Hazard opined. He averages just under a goal per game against Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen, Mainz, Hannover and Hamburg, and more than a goal per game against Freiburg, while putting 18 past poor Augsburg in only 13 appearances. The winger has been central to the success but with little real coherence and planning around him.

Willian will meet up with Mourinho on Sunday in a key match as the battle for a top-four spot intensifies.

Antonio Conte insists he thrives off the pressure that comes with being Chelsea boss after admitting the club's recent "custom" of regularly changing managers makes him the target of added scrutiny. But it happened, and there was Lionel Messi. Los Blancos love to sign big names after a World Cup, and if Kante stars for France this summer in Russia, you could easily see him making the switch to the Bernabeu. "You don't get a lot of the ball".

"We gave too much space to Willian to shoot", Valverde said.

Chelsea will take heart from this performance though. The Catalan is an admirer of Hazard and is likely to show interest if there is any hint that he could leave Stamford Bridge in the summer.

"After the defeat against Burnley [on the opening day of the season], people were already talking about change the coach, but that is because of this history".

They didn't. Willian picked out a gap in the defense to send the ball into the bottom right of the night. That has made it hard to build a cogent framework, which then allows Hazard to produce at his optimum level.

Going back to the Nou Camp for the second leg with an away goal, Suarez believes Barcelona have the upper hand.

Hewitt, head of football operations for the MENA Region at City Football Group (CFG), has worked with literally hundreds of young players, some as young as three years old, since he opened the City Football Schools Abu Dhabi in 2011 - and for everyone who passes through one of his sessions he tries to teach them three basic tenets.


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