Antonio Conte lauds Willian as Chelsea set sights on Barcelona

12 March, 2018, 10:43 | Author: Virgil Todd
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"It's a shame we didn't play the whole of the game as we played the second half", Roy Hodgson, the Palace manager, said. "We are playing against one of the best teams in the world so we must pay great attention, having the same focus, the same attention as the first leg against Barcelona". It won't be easy.

Despite the numbers supporting Willian's inclusion in the team, Conte insists his defensive work is equally important. When you play a game in the league, when you play in the Champions League, FA Cup, in every game experience is very important.

Conte, speaking on Friday ahead of their Premier League clash against Crystal Palace, recalls how he was "killed" for slamming his Juventus coach during his playing days. Big, physical, starting the match in a revivalist 4-4-2 formation, this was hardly a Barca-like side visiting the Bridge. "And they tell me there wasn't too much wrong with it". It was nearly the ideal game, if we didn't concede the goal at the last.

"I think, for John, Chelsea is his home", he said.

Italians Juventus produced a masterclass last week to squeeze out Tottenham.

"We made a lot of chances and it was a pity that they scored the goal and we had three minutes that were a bit nervous", Conte said.

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"Tomorrow, for sure, we have this option to play with Giroud or Morata as number nine".

Though when it comes to experience, at least one of his players knows where to seek advice.

Tiemoue Bakayoko could also make his first Chelsea appearance in more than a month. I hope in the present but, for sure, in the future. "We are working very well as always and tomorrow we will see". As he demonstrated against Palace, at times he was the furthest forward of all their players, his swift interchange with Willian on the edge of the Palace box leading to the second goal. "We've had defeats against top teams but haven't discredited ourselves".

"We could've clearly had three, four or five, even, with the chances we created". We will need to counter-attack.

And it will be this fine balance between defense and attack that Conte will want from Willian, and the rest of his team, when they travel to Catalonia on Wednesday. He didn't play a lot of games but despite this his commitment was incredible, he helped me a lot.



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