MX23RW : Friday, October 19 14:21:21

Ernesto Valverde wary of Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard ahead of last-16 tie

Ernesto Valverde wary of Morata, Hazard
© Offside
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde talks up the attacking quality in Chelsea's ranks, singling out Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard as particular threats.

Ernesto Valverde has admitted that Barcelona face a tough task making it through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, as they must first overcome a "strong" Chelsea side.

The two clubs will renew their long-running feud in early 2018 with a place in the last eight of the competition on offer, having been paired together in Monday morning's draw.

Chelsea were one of the more difficult teams Valverde's men could have faced, with the Barca boss singling out attacking duo Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard as particular threats to his side's hopes of progression.

"Tactically, Chelsea are very good and also very physical," he told Barca TV. "With Morata, they have speed in attack and Hazard is very good between the lines. They're a strong team.

"It's a hard draw for us, but we knew that nothing was going to be easy because there were very good teams in the draw.

"Chelsea are the champions of the Premier League, but we will play with enthusiasm because, although it will be difficult, it's a very nice tie for us and for the supporters. In that aspect, it's easy to motivate the players."

Barcelona finished top of Group D with 14 points from a possible 18, while Chelsea slipped up on the final matchday to finish second behind Roma in Group C.

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Arda Turan of Barcelona in action during his side's Champions League clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on November 1, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
2Chelsea86201851320
3Liverpool86201531220
4Arsenal86021910918
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
6Bournemouth85121612416
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
9Watford84131112-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Burnley82241012-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
16Southampton8125614-85
17Fulham8125921-125
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

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