Chelsea must 'suffer' at Barca, warns Conte

Lionel Messi

Chelsea will “have to suffer” in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona, says Blues manager Antonio Conte.

Lionel Messi’s equaliser cancelled out Willian’s opener in the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

“For the manager, for every coach, it is not simple to sleep a lot, especially before these types of games,” said Conte.

“I hope my players also have the same excitement [as me]”.

Chelsea will hope to take inspiration from their 2-2 semi-final draw at the Nou Camp in 2012, giving them a 3-2 victory on aggregate.

That year, under Roberto di Matteo, Chelsea went on to win the trophy, beating Bayern Munich on penalties in the final.

Conte said: “You must be excited to play this kind of game at the Nou Camp. A lot of my players have never played in this stadium and we want to try to do our best.

“In the first leg, we played a really good game and it was almost perfect. That was against a team that I consider one of the best in the world.

“But when we made a mistake, we paid for it. The final result of that games gives a great advantage to Barcelona.

“We know very well the philosophy of Barcelona. For sure they want to dominate and play their football, to score and to win the game, and we have to try to do our best.

“We have to concentrate, to stay with your head on the pitch in every moment and to know that there are moments we have to suffer. Not only Chelsea, but every team who plays Barcelona has to suffer.

“They have to be compact and when you have the ball you have to have the feeling in your heart to create the chance to score.”

Messi will never leave

Lionel Messi<!–

Forward Messi’s well-taken strike was his first goal against the Blues at the ninth attempt.

The Argentine recently signing[1] a new contract with the club until 2021, but Barca’s financial and strategy director Pancho Schroder said last week[2] that a club might not be put off by the £625m release clause.

However, team-mate Sergio Busquets says Messi will find it “difficult” to leave Spain’s league leaders.

The Spain international midfielder added: “When you feel at home with all the things you have here – this is a big club, with good players next to you, you win different trophies, this is a good project, economically he’s doing well.

“All of this is positive. It’s difficult to find this in other places. We know the Premier League is a spectacular league. We would like to play there, but if you take all the positives and all the negatives, it’s very difficult to leave Barcelona.”

Team news – ‘Genius’ Iniesta doubtful

Barcelona will give a late fitness test to midfielder Andres Iniesta, who is struggling with a hamstring problem.

Conte said: “Andres Iniesta is a genius of football. I like to compare him with Andrea Pirlo [who played under Conte for Juventus and Italy].

“This type of game is right to face the best players. I don’t hope that they could miss out through injury.”

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde added: “It is a very important game. It is down to the player. It is a game you can only play if you are 100%.”

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is available again after missing last Saturday’s win over Crystal Palace, while the Blues have no other injury worries.

Match facts


  • 68% of away sides to draw the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie 1-1 progress to the next round (23/34).
  • This will be the 14th meeting between these sides in the Champions League – only two fixtures have been played more often in the competition – Bayern v Real Madrid (18) and Barcelona v Milan (15).
  • Six of the 13 previous meetings have ended in draws (46%) – of all fixtures to have been played at least 10 times, only Chelsea v Liverpool has ended level more often (50% – 5/10).


  • Barcelona have lost only four of their 39 Champions League knockout games at home (W25 D10), with Liverpool the only English team to win there (2-1 in February 2007).
  • Barcelona have won 23 Champions League games against English clubs, more than any other side in the competition.
  • Lionel Messi scored his first ever Champions League goal against Chelsea at the ninth time of asking in the first leg. He has scored more goals against English clubs than any other player in the competition (18).
  • Luis Suarez has failed to score in the last 881 minutes of play in the Champions League, his longest drought in the competition. His last goal came back in March 2017 against Paris St-Germain.


  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight Champions League games against Barcelona (W2 D6), with their last four visits to Nou Camp ending level.
  • The Blues have been shown four red cards in Champions League games against Barcelona, accounting for 33% of their total red cards in the competition (4/12).
  • Chelsea have already won at Atletico Madrid this season – they could become only the third team to win away at two Spanish clubs in the same Champions League campaign after AC Milan (v Barcelona and Deportivo in 2000-01) and Roma (v Real Madrid and Valencia in 2002-03).
  • Six of Willian’s nine Champions League goals for Chelsea have been from outside the box. Since he joined the Blues in 2013, he’s scored more from long range than any other player in the competition.
  • Eden Hazard has set up his team-mates for a shot on 23 occasions in the Champions League this season, the joint-most alongside Neymar.


  1. ^ recently signing (
  2. ^ said last week (

BBC Sport – Football

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