Antonio Conte is to consult with Chelsea’s players to find out how they want to play against Barcelona in a sensational attempt to progress to the Champions League quarter finals.
Chelsea took a first leg lead against the La Liga leaders three weeks ago thanks to a long range strike from Willian, but were drawn level by Lionel Messi to give the Catalan side the advantage going into the second leg.
Chelsea started that game with Eden Hazard deployed as a false nine, something he later admitted that he did not enjoy, before reaffirming his thoughts after being asked to play in a similar position against Manchester City.
Now, in an attempt to qualify for the last eight, and to keep his stars happy, it seems as though the Italian is going to consult with his stars, with Olivier Giroud expected to be given the nod up front.
“Sometimes it is important also to share the responsibility with the players that you have to prepare for this type of game,” Conte said.
“In every game I have to decide the starting XI and not the players, because the players are the players and the manager is the manager. But sometimes, before this type of game, it is more important to involve totally the players and then to listen. This tie seems close and, for this reason, I think that we have to try the best plan for the game Barcelona.”
Conte watched Tottenham beaten by his former club Juventus last week, and despite being in a similar position to his former employers, having gained a score draw in the first leg at home, he does not feel that his current squad’s situation can be compared:
“With Juve, don’t forget you are talking about a team with many players with great experience, many who have won or played in a final of the Champions League many times,” he said. “We don’t have this same experience. It is something you have to build over years.
“For sure, Juventus showed great resilience, they suffered a lot and, in the right minute, they killed Tottenham.
“My team has not got great experience but players who need that experience – people like [Andreas] Christensen, [Tiemoué] Bakayoko are young, or we have players playing for the first time or the second time in the Champions League.
“So we have to work as a team and try to be ready, to suffer in the moment, but also know we have the chance to go to score.”