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Conte explains why he chose to play so defensively against Barcelona

Antonio Conte has defended his choice of tactics in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw against Barcelona, with some fans criticising his negativity in the game.

The Blues took the lead in the 62nd minute through Willian, before Lionel Messi equalised 13 minutes later to give the Catalan club the advantage going into next months second leg.

However, despite the relatively positive result for Chelsea, Conte set his side up in a very defensive manner, opting to start with no recognised strikers, despite Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud both being fit and on the bench.

Speaking after the game however, the Italian explained his reason for not coming up with a more attacking game plan.

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“When you play against Barcelona you know very well that if you want to face them box-to-box then you are crazy and you lose the game,” the former Juventus coach said.

“And not 1-0 but, like happens in Spain, 4-0, 5-0, 6-0. You must play with intelligence, especially if you know that [Barca are a] level up on us.

“What we are trying to do is important with a lot of young players. You must play an intelligent game, we are not stupid.”

Despite his negative approach to the game, and only managing 26% possession during the game, Chelsea actually had more attempts on goal, having 11 efforts of the Barcelona net as opposed to the Blaugrana’s seven.

Conte also refused to criticise Andreas Christensen, despite it being his error that directly led to the Barcelona goal.

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