Despite Barcelona running away with La Liga, and Chelsea having a tough time in the Premier League, Antonio Conte was left disappointed that his side were denied a famous victory due to an individual error.
Brazilian winger Willian had given the Blues a 62nd minute lead against the Catalan club, before an errant pass from Andreas Christensen was seized upon by Andres Iniesta who fed Lionel Messi who was finally about to end his 730 minute goalscoring drought against West London club.
Speaking after the game, Conte said the result should give his side plenty of confidence, but he is disappointed not to have got more out of the first leg tie.
“One mistake,” he bemoaned. “But as you know very well against this opponent, this type of player like Messi, [Luis] Suarez and [Andres] Iniesta, if you make a mistake you pay.
“It’s a pity because I think, over the game, we are disappointed for the final result. Two shots off the post with Willian. There is a bit of disappointment.
“But at the same time this game must give us a lot of confidence to trust that in the second leg. The qualification is open. It won’t be easy. We must be realistic. We are talking about Barcelona. They show tonight to be a strong, fantastic team.”
Asked if he regretted his decision to play Christensen rather than the more experienced Gary Cahill, Conte was adamant in his backing of the Danish defender:
“No, no, no,” he said. “I think it was a great performance, an incredible performance. We’re talking about a player he’s only 21, 22. It’s great that he can play this game with this maturity.
“I am very happy. For me he was one of the best players. It’s very difficult to say one or another player, but I pick him. He played a very good game. I am pleased with his performance.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea winger Willian was still confident of making it to the next round.