Chelsea v Barcelona: Conte “My players can be very proud of what they did tonight” and on his future…

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte thought that his team was unlucky to not see out the victory at Stamford Bridge this evening after a 1-1 draw against Barcelona.

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, the Italian tactician claimed that his pre-match preparations had gone “almost perfectly to plan,” before adding that “my players can be very proud of what they did tonight and we are very unlucky not to be going to the Camp Nou with a lead.”

Asked about whether the performance justified his choice of playing with a false number nine and leaving out his two main strikers Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, Conte replied: “I pick my team to play the opposition and I think that tonight my team selection was justified.”

When asked if he thought his side were still in with a chance of causing an upset in the second-leg, Conte explained that: “It is only half-time and a lot can still happen.

“We have time to prepare but there are important games in between. Of course we still feel we have a chance.”

When he spoke to Mediaset Premium, he was asked whether he would like to return to the Italian national team as Head-Coach. Conte replied; “I have a contract until 2019 and I intend to respect that.

“I’m happy here but in marriage, both partners have to be happy together.”

Barcelona must sweat for LaLiga – Valverde

Atletico Madrid have trimmed the gap at the top of LaLiga to seven points and Ernesto Valverde knows there are battles ahead for Barcelona.
Ernesto Valverde warned Barcelona they will have to overcome plenty more dogged opponents like Getafe if they are to get their hands on the title in LaLiga.
Sunday’s goalless draw at Camp Nou made it back-to-back stalemates for the leaders, whose advantage over Atletico Madrid is now down to seven points.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and the rest of Barca’s superstars failed to muster a shot on target during the first half and Valverde felt his players failed to adapt fully to the challenge presented by Pepe Bordalas’ side.
“We still have to sweat for this league,” he told a post-match news conference. “We are going to find many teams that are going to make our lives impossible.
“[Getafe] are an uncomfortable team and we lacked a bit of freshness to have a little more fluency. Between what they pressed and us not being fresh, it cost us.
“We lacked a bit of spark to do something else.”
Arguably the most encouraging element of Barcelona’s performance was a classy full-debut from Yerry Mina at centre-back, made all the more impressive by left-back Lucas Digne being played out of position alongside the Colombia international at the heart of defence.
“It is positive news that the two centre-backs, Yerry and Digne, have been quite good,” Valverde said.
“It was a delicate moment for them and they fulfilled their roles.”
Record signing Ousmane Dembele made his latest comeback from injury but the winger flattered to deceive in an error-strewn cameo from the bench.
“He thought he could help us but he has not been able to as many times as he would have liked,” Valverde added.
“He has gone on to the field because he had to try things. It is a first step.”