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Antonio Conte reveals Chelsea tactics in plan to stop Barcelona and Lionel Messi
- Updated: February 20, 2018
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte stated clearly what he feels his team must to do in order to stop the juggernaut that is Barcelona in the Champions League. Speaking in the pre-match post conference ahead of the mouth-watering clash against the La Liga leaders at Stamford Bridge, the Italian sounded out the face that the backline must remain imaculate if the Blues are to pull off what would most claim as an upset.
Barcelona are one of the if not 'THE' best attacking sides in Europe with a plethora of weapons to call upon. Having already scored 62 goals in 24 games in La Liga in addition to cruising through the groups stage of the Champions League, it will be an arduous task for the Blues' backline.
And amongst all this, Conte and his men has find the formulae to stop the unstoppable – Lionel Messi. Messi, however, is yet to score against Chelsea- ever.
Speaking on the Argentine genius and the task on hand to stop him, the Chelsea manager stated:
“This is a good question.
“We are talking about the best player in the world. He has the capacity to solve the situation and create the chance when you don’t see it.
“It means we are talking about a fantastic player.
“But not only Messi but Suarez is a dangerous player. We have to stop all of Barcelona and work very hard and know during the game that we must prepare to suffer.”
Chelsea have found some momentum coming into the game after claiming back to back wins as well as clean sheets in the Premier League after having lost three of the previous four. The 48-year-old, however is well aware of Chelsea's frailties at the back in recent times and the fact that Barcelona will bring a challenge that his team would have rarely faced this season.
“I think we start this game as underdog for sure,” Conte conceded.
“Barcelona on paper are favourites to go to the next round. We must be excited to have this challenge.
“These games are important to know our level in this competition. We work and prepared well for this game. It won’t be easy.
“They are having a fantastic season, they are top of the league and are the potential to win their cup.”
He added: “We are talking about a massive game.
“A big challenge for us, one of the best in the world.
“I think this type of game we must be excited to play them.
“For sure it won’t be easy because we are talking about a fantastic team with fantastic players.
“We must pay great attention and must have ambition to play our football.
“We know the characteristics of them. They like to dominate the game.
“In every game they can create chances to score and for this reason we must be prepared to suffer without the ball and be compact and with the ball do what we know.”
Chelsea star Eden Hazard also spoke in the pre-match press conference and echoed Conte’s insistence that defence is the key to beating Barcelona.
“We need to defend as a team, if we don’t then we are in trouble,” he said.
“It is right to play our football. We like the ball and when we have it we need to score goals.
“Tonight is key at Stamford Bridge.”