Chelsea legend issues stern warning ahead of Barcelona clash

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Atletico Madrid

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Atletico Madrid

With the Champions League last-16 tie finely posed at 1-1 after the first leg, Conte knows his players must improve to have any hope of progressing at the expense of Lionel Messi and company. "Because when you play against this type of team, one of the best teams in the world, you must be prepared to suffer".

"We have to try to have the same focus, the same attention as the first leg against Barcelona".

Speaking ahead of Saturday's game against Crystal Palace, he said: "If I think it's right for the team to play this way, it's OK".

"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".

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"The best way sometimes is to speak to the players, to try to find together the right plan to play this game".

Conte was forced to defend his tactical approach amid widespread criticism after the match, but the Italian is adamant that he will continue to vary his attacking set-up as the situation requires, while also reaffirming his trust Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud. And then, in the next game, I didn't play.

And reports in France claim that contact has already been established with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who is expected to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

Chelsea are behind in the race for Champions League qualification, fifth with nine games to go, five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and seven adrift of third-placed Liverpool. "In this case I think he could have avoided the yellow card". We played a game, a massive game against Parma when they were first and we were second.

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"But I believe in the players, I believe that they've got a lot of qualities not just in terms of fighting spirit and determination. We did have all 11 doing that in the second half". "Then, after the game, we'll start to think about the Champions League game".

He said: "I saw it from the touchline".

"There were a lot of players who didn't give me the sort of commitment and desire, if you like, to win the ball and run around", Hodgson said.

They reached half-time two goals up through Willian and a Martin Kelly own goal and with the crowd anticipating not much more than a few early substitutions to rest key personnel.

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