Antonio Conte’s post-match comments had a fairly familiar ring to them, as he was once again left ruing Chelsea’s poor finishing — 7 shots on target, just 1 own goal, from 17 total shots (2.66 xG) — in what was otherwise a good performance.
“It was a good game, a good performance. We deserved to win. When you create so many chances to score, important chances, you have to try to take them. Instead the goalkeeper was the best player for them. In other circumstances, we could have been more aggressive with our finishing.”
“Deserve” of course has nothing to do with it. You deserve what you get, and with Atlético making Chelsea pay for a lapse in concentration on a set piece and the Blues not quite returning that favor in kind, the 1-1 draw is only appropriate.
“We conceded a goal we have to improve from. There were a lot of mistakes. When you play this type of game the details are very important. They move the final result. Maybe in our best moment, we went 1-0 down. We tried with strength to draw, and then try to win. After a performance like this, the coach must be happy.”
The draw extended Chelsea’s unbeaten run to eight games in all competitions, which should maintain the team’s momentum as we head deeper into the winter months. The Champions League takes a length break until mid-February in the meantime, though not before Monday’s draw for the first knockout round.
By virtue of finishing second, and assuming that all four other Premier League teams win their groups, Chelsea have only three possible opponents for the next round: PSG, Barcelona, and Besiktas. Two of those sound particularly scary, but at the end of the day, Chelsea should have plenty of confidence as well.
“We know we could play against Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain or Besiktas. When you play this competition and go through to the next round, you must be ready to face the best teams. This is a fantastic competition. If you want to go through and be a protagonist in this tournament, you must be ready to face every team.
“At the same time our opponent won’t be happy to play against us. We will see what happens.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
The primary task of making the knockout rounds has been accomplished. This is where the fun begins.