Conte: ‘Sad but excited to face Barca’

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte describes facing Barcelona in the Champions League as ‘a great challenge’ but is ‘sad’ to have drawn them.

The two sides face-off in Tuesday’s first-leg at Stamford Bridge, with the Catalan side favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

“To play against Barcelona is a great challenge,” Conte said after watching his side defeat Hull City4-0 in last night’s FA Cup fifth round tie.

“This type of game must give us great enthusiasm and we must be excited. 

“They are one of the best teams in the world. 

“In one side you must be sad to play them but on the other hand you must be excited and you must try to compete with them on this level.”

It has been a difficult season for Conte, who has had to repeatedly field questions over his future after what is set to be an unsuccessful Premier League title defence and reported disagreements with the Chelsea board.

However, the Italian is confident that victories over Hull and West Brom in their last two matches will give his players renewed belief as they prepare to host Ernesto Valverde’s team.

“The last two wins were very important for us and our confidence. To win a game in the League and FA Cup. 

“To prepare in the right way against Barcelona.

“Then we are talking about a massive game. Now we must be confident to prepare this game. 

“It starts 0-0 and then we have to move it in the right direction.” 

Tags Antonio Conte Chelsea