MX23RW : Saturday, December 15 07:48:51

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

Conte: 'Chelsea were close to perfect'
© Offside
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says that his side were "very close to perfect" during their 1-1 draw with Barcelona, but were punished for one defensive error.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has said that his side were "very close to the perfect game" during this evening's 1-1 draw with Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.

The Premier League champions came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half despite surrendering 73% of the possession throughout the match, with Willian hitting both posts before the interval.

The Brazilian did eventually break the deadlock, but Barcelona levelled things up through Lionel Messi's away goal, leaving Conte bemoaning one defensive error from an otherwise "great" performance.

"We were very close to the perfect game. One mistake and we know very well when you make a mistake against Barcelona and players like Messi, [Luis] Suarez and [Andres] Iniesta you pay," he told BT Sport.

"It is a pity. I am very proud for my players. They followed what we prepared. It's a pity. Tonight we were a bit unlucky.

"I think when you play this game you must have a plan and respect the characteristics of the opponent. Our plan was really good. The effort of the players was great, we are talking about 1-1 and maybe we deserved more.

"I think in the second leg we have to play a game against Barcelona and we know his team is very strong and fantastic. The final result and qualification is open, it will be very difficult but our performance gives confidence to try and do something incredible."

Chelsea are now unbeaten in their last eight matches against Barcelona.


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A frustrated Cesc Fabregas during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Southampton on December 16, 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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