Chelsea doesn't fear Euro superpowers: Conte

Antonio Conte insists Chelsea have nothing to fear in the Champions League last 16 even though his side could face a crunch clash with Barcelona or Paris Saint Germain. 

Published: 06th December 2017 12:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 06th December 2017 12:34 PM   |  A+A-

Chelsea gaffer Antonio Conte (File | AFP)


LONDON: Antonio Conte insists Chelsea have nothing to fear in the Champions League last 16 even though his side could face a crunch clash with Barcelona or Paris Saint Germain. 

Conte's team blew their chance to finish top of Group C as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday. 

That allowed Roma to clinch pole position with a win over Qarabag, the Italians moving above Chelsea because of their better head-to-head record.

Turkish side Besiktas or Sevilla, if they win a group currently topped by Liverpool, are other possible opponents for the English champions.

But Chelsea boss Conte is adamant his players shouldn't be scared about taking on one of the big guns because they are strong enough to trouble any team. 

"When you play this competition and you go through to the next round you must be ready to face the best teams," he said. 

"In this case we know we could play Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain or Besiktas. 

"We must be ready. At the same time I think our opponent won't be happy to play against us. 

"It is a fantastic competition. We reached the next round and we must be happy with this." 

Already lagging well behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, Chelsea can't rely on Europe for silverware despite Conte's fighting talk. 

But while City, Tottenham Manchester United have cruised through to the last 16, Conte claims Chelsea had to battle through a much harder group. 

- Problematic -

And the Italian warned Chelsea's English rivals that it won't be easy to maintain that form in the latter stages of the competition. 

"Last season we won the league but it was a surprise. This season we are trying to do our best in the league and the Champions League," he said. 

"We have to show we deserve to go through to the next round and to fight until the end for the title. 

"Our group was really tough. It was easy for a lot of these teams to go to the next round. 

"But this season is very tough. You have to play a lot of games, then you arrive at the final stage. For this reason is can be problematic to win it. 

"The English teams are very good, they have the possibility to reach the final. The only question is what physical condition." 

Chelsea's downfall against Atletico was poor marking by Tiemoue Bakayoko, who allowed Saul Niguez to head home in the second half before the hosts equalised through Stefan Savic's own goal. 

Conte refused to blame Bakayoko, saying: "He is a young player. He is working to try to improve. 

"In this case it's important to have patience. Mistakes are normal." 

After finishing as Champions League runners-up in 2014 and 2016, Atletico missed out on the last 16 for the first time since 2010 and are consigned to the Europa League. 

They needed a win and Roma to drop points in the last round of fixtures, but despite the disappointment, boss Diego Simeone insisted they had nothing to be ashamed of. 

"We only lost one game in the 90th minute but I repeat there are no excuses," he said. 

"I wouldn't say it's a failure. We knew it could happen. To the fans I would say we have a long season ahead and we will see what happens. 

"We showed strength, we showed we are a competitive team. 

"Without doubt we've paid the price for not being able to win the two games against Qarabag."

Stay up to date on all the latest Football news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

facebook twitter whatsapp