Champions League: Conte reveals why Chelsea vs Barcelona ended in a draw

FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi netted his first ever goal against reigning Premier League winners Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night.

He warned that it will be hard for the west London side to beat Barcelona at Camp Nou in the second leg on 14 March.

Twice, though, Barcelona had gifted Willian the space to hit the post in the first half.

"It won't be easy, we must be realistic, we are talking about Barcelona".

The winger may be more comfortable out wide, but if his change of position helps the Blues succeed against opponents who otherwise might outclass them, he'll need to play as a false nine for the good of the team.

"We will go there trying to win because we have to score and we will try to pull off the flawless game as we did today except for the small mistake that we made", added the Belgian.

One of the key questions will be whether Conte retains the rapid front three of Eden Hazard, Pedro Rodriguez and Willian that confounded those skeptical of his decision not to select a natural centre-forward in midweek.

Antonio Conte lived every moment of Chelsea vs. Barcelona like a fan...

"I've said this in a very clear way, I have a contract with Chelsea until 2019 and I intend to respect that contract", he said.

Typical Suarez. The 31-year-old needs to avoid a second booking in the second leg, which he believes is Barcelona's to lose. The issue was that none of the Barcelona midfielders were able to beat their marker either with speed, dribbling or quick combination play.

"We were a bit unlucky but we must be proud of our performance because we played really well". In the end, it took a wayward Andreas Christensen pass to undo Chelsea's defensive solidity.

Chelsea's performance against Barcelona may have added to that list of admirers. "They followed what we prepared", Conte said.

"It is hard when they have eight players behind the ball". Conte, relatively becalmed over recent weeks as a season of disputes behind the scenes, largely over recruitment, appeared to take its toll and the team's results stuttered, was back to his firebrand best on the touchline.

Christensen's unsafe ball across his own box was a gift for an old scourge of Chelsea in Iniesta and Messi made no mistake by sweeping low past Thibaut Courtois for his 28th goal of the season.

The only question mark is whether Valverde will use Paulinho or Andre Gomes as his fourth midfielder, with Paulinho perhaps the favourite ahead of the much-criticised Portuguese player. "It is a suicide mission". The Barcelona manager added that Chelsea's high pressing made it hard for his men to control the game.

  • Julie Sanders