Conte says he expects Chelsea to 'suffer' against Barcelona

Conte says he expects Chelsea to 'suffer' against Barcelona

He has now scored 100 times in 123 games in this competition.

Conte hasn't exactly hidden the fact he could return, at some point, to try and lead his country to global glory, but as long as he's under contract at Stamford Bridge, that's where his focus is.

It doesn't seem likely to happen, however. Indeed a poor performance against Barcelona could spell the end of the Italian's reign as Blues boss.

The goal was the Argentine's first against Chelsea in nine meetings and put his side in an advantageous position, with the onus now on the Blues who must score in Spain to stand a chance of going through. A loss to bottom-three side West Ham had come as a shock to supporters, but Conte remained their hero.

At the finish, Chelsea coach Antonio Conte left the field with his arm around the forward, perhaps with nothing to add but congratulations. He made a poor pass across the penalty area and Andres Iniesta intercepted the ball before feeding it to Lionel Messi, who scored from inside the area for his first ever goal against the English club.

Perhaps Chelsea's biggest hurdle on Wednesday would be the restraint exercised by their manager, who has steadfastly refused to move away from his ideology in spite of reaping precious rewards whenever Chelsea have attempted to take the game to the opposition. The freakish trait of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against feeble opponents and turning adversity into triumph against the leading lights is part of Chelsea's DNA. The match is tied 1-1 with Barcelona holding the way goal advantage.

Chelsea are yet to record a Champions League win over Barcelona at the Camp Nou and Conte hopes his players can rise to the occasion.


It buoys Chelsea supporters in times of trouble, and rightly so. History between these two sides also back this.

Whoever plays up front, Conte says his players must be prepared to be starved of the ball tonight and make the most of any opportunity. Not that Chelsea went out with a whimper like Manchester United.

Willian, whose second-half goal was cancelled out by a 75th-minute Lionel Messi equaliser in London, said Chelsea would need to do a "perfect job" against the La Liga leaders at the Nou Camp.

"So to compare him with Messi or Ronaldo is hard, but Eden Hazard is a fantastic player".

Curiously, if Conte is to find salvation it may lie with new signing Olivier Giroud. He was the first substitution if the striker was injured.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have only won the Champions League once, back in 2012.

"Hazard is more a number 10 and Iniesta is a thinking midfielder".

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