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CFC

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Chelsea are in the UEFA Youth League quarter-finals as Joe Edwards’ Under-19 squad beat Feyenoord with a comfortable win tonight. Goals from Ampadu (6′), Redan (10′), St Clair (77′) and a couple of own goals secured the Blues a 5-2 win at the Recreation Ground in Aldershot.

Chelsea will face Real Madrid in Spain, where the first-leg “is scheduled for the week commencing 12 March”, as the Blues’ official website confirmed.

 

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Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has warned his teammates ahead of next Champions League trip to Nou Camp, where the Blues will face Barcelona on 14th March.

The Spaniard, who left La Liga giants in 2014, told BT Sports: “It is such a shame really, I thought we were very good, we executed the game plan really well, we were compact, solid, played as a team and created lots of chances – Willian could have had a hat-trick – but we go home sad because a fantastic performance is not a fantastic result”.

“It is still open though and we and we will need another excellent performance at the Nou Camp to go through”.

Chelsea were dominant against Barcelona, before conceding a goal late in the second half: “You have to have a lot of personality to play against this team who has 70% of the ball. We have to go there to attack and score because 90 minutes defending at the Nou Camp is an eternity, it is a suicide mission. We have to play our game.”

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Once again, after Chelsea‘s draw vs Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League last 16, Thibaut Courtois spoke about his possible move to Real Madrid, claiming that, at least at the moment, everything is possible.

“I’m not clear about my future,” Courtois said. “What I said that my heart is in Madrid was misunderstood. I have two children in Spain, in Madrid, and that’s not easy. I have one year left [here] and I’m happy and talking to Chelsea. They have bet on me from the first moment and that is not forgotten. I do not think Florentino Perez calls me, he will call my agent and he will listen to him.”

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Ernesto ValverdeBarcelona‘s manager is happy with his team’s result tonight at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

Our performance? It seemed pretty good to me,” Valverde said after the game. “We went to a place where it’s difficult to play. [Chelsea] are the champions of the Premier and we carried their weight from the first whistle. They had some strong players who posed us problems on the counter, but they hardly had any chances. It’s a good result and I think we deserved the 1-1. It’s difficult when so many players group up against you. It’s difficult to find space. Therefore, you must fight back with quality, pace and good finishing. Did Messi drop too deep? Possibly, but they defended with five at the back. If we put five more up top, they’d defend with 10 players there and they’d enjoy the space as a result. We had to protect ourselves, so we’re happy in that sense. How do I see the return leg? There’s still a long way to go. That’ll be the decisive match. To some extent, they’ll be more obligated [to perform], but our approaches may be similar. Why Aleix and not Dembele? [Dembele’s] been out injured for a while, and for a match like this, Coaches go with the things they know best”. Aleix also gives us things, a different profile. When we’re faced with a match like this, I rely on certainties. I had to play Paulinho as a starter and then bring on Aleix Vidal for more depth. It wasn’t the time to experiment. That’s how I see it.”

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, speaking to SkySport in Italy, was also asked on Alvaro Morata‘s exclusion from the starting XI: “These games are fights and you need sacrifice” he said. “We needed a balanced squad, with [Alvaro] Morata and [Eden] Hazard together we would have risked to lose two important players in “non-possession situations. Anyway, Willian and Pedro both sacrifice themselves in a better way”.

“We must understand our players’ characteristics and what they can give you with or without the ball. Sometimes we produce undeserved seppuku, sometimes I am disappointed to make certain decisions but my task is to give balance to my squad and we must exploit all the chances we create”.

About a potential role for Italy, Conte added: “I was clear, I am contracted here until 2019 and I am committed, keen to respect this contract. Then in modern football anything can happen, some marriages come to an end for many reasons: this is our job, very particular job. If something happens, I will be grateful to be named Italy coach again”.

 

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Willian was the best player tonight on the pitch during the Champions League clash between Chelsea and Barcelona.

The Brazilian hit the post twice in the first half and then he scored the Blues goal in the second part of the game, before Lionel Messi equalised for Ernesto Valverdes side.

I’m happy for the goal but I’m a bit sad with the result. I think we deserved to win – they had more possession but we created dangerous chances to score,” Willian told BT Sport. We have to go there and play the same game. I was a bit unlucky (hitting the post twice). I have to keep on working and look forward to the other games.”

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke after the first leg of Champions League’s eight-final against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian manager said: “Not angry, for sure I am disappointed and sorry as well as my players. When you play these games against teams like Barcelona you have to do a perfect job to get the best, to win the game, but we made a mistake and we paid for it. We faced a team with players like [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez, [Andres] Iniesta. We were not so lucky and this is a pity, we knew their weak points: we’ll give our best, everything, at Camp Nou”.

When asked about his future and the relationship with Chelsea fans, Conte said: “Chelsea changed 10 managers in 14 years, the press point the finger against you as soon as you fail to get some results. After our first defeat against Burnley newspapers were already writing about my sacking, this is a routine of English press, there’s a lot of pressure but I’m not bothered by that: I always look for pressure”.

On Morata’s exclusion from the starting XI: “These games are fights and you need sacrifice. We needed a balanced squad, with [Alvaro] Morata and [Eden] Hazard together we would have risked to lose two important players in “non-possession situations. Anyway, Willian and Pedro both sacrifice themselves in a better way. We must understand our players’ characteristics and what they can give you with or without the ball. Sometimes we produce undeserved seppuku, sometimes I am disappointed to make certain decisions but my task is to give balance to my squad and we must exploit all the chances we create”.

 

 

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Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas believes the Blues deserved a better result tonight vs Barcelona at Stamford Bridge based on the performance Antonio Conte‘s side produced on the pitch vs the Spanish giants.

It is such a shame really. I thought we were very good, we executed the game plan really well, we were compact, solid, played as a team and created lots of chances – Willian could have had a hat-trick – but we go home sad because a fantastic performance is not a fantastic result,” Fabregas told BT Sport. “It is still open though and we have showed that we can compete and we will need another excellent performance at the Nou Camp to go through. You have to have a lot of personality to play against this team who has 70% of the ball. We have to go there to attack and score because 90 minutes defending at the Nou Camp is an eternity, it is a suicide mission. We have to play our game.”

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Speaking to BT Sports tonight during the coverage of the first leg of the Champions League last 16 between Chelsea and BarcelonaManchester United legend Rio Ferdinand claimed he was impress both by Willian‘s performance and the Blues’ tactical display.

Conte got his tactics spot on today”. Rio Ferdinand said. “It was a very compact team and they picked their times well in coming out and causing Barcelona problems. Willian today was the one who produced.”

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Goalless draw at half-time between Chelsea and Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 which is been playing at Stamford Bridge.

Ernesto Valverde‘s side dominated the ball possession, but the best chances were for Antonio Conte‘s Blues: Willian hit the post twice with two shots from outside the box, at 33′ and 43′.

Hazard went close to score twice as well, but his shots were just a little wide.

The only chance for Barcelona was an header by Paulinho that went wide.

A very unlucky Chelsea that showed character and pace.

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Chelsea are in the UEFA Youth League quarter-finals as Joe Edwards' Under-19 squad beat Feyenoord with a comfortable win tonight. Goals from Ampadu (6'), Redan...