Chelsea are ready to carry the “right confidence” into Tuesday night’s all-important Champions League Round of 16 first leg match, reflected head coach Antonio Conte after a straightforward 4-0 demolition of Hull City on Friday night in the FA Cup fifth round.
“We lost two games at the end of a busy period. Now we have the right confidence again. But in the next two weeks we have to play massive games and we must be strong – Barcelona, United and City. We are ready.”
While the Blues are unlikely to find Barcelona, who have lost just 1 game all season, as easy to deal with as Hull, we have at least managed to right the ship after a couple terrible results to finish out the winter busy period.
“Good game, good performance. It was great for us. The most important thing is that we are in the next round. [...] You hope to always have a game that you can dominate. Our start was impressive. We started with great focus and concentration, will to score and wanted to go to the next round. I’m really pleased with the commitment of my players.”
In fact, the task for Conte now isn’t just to find a few in-form players and hope for the best, but rather to find the correct combination of in-form players for what could be a season-defining match (and series of matches, with back-to-back trips to Manchester coming up as well). Friday’s starting lineup suggested maybe a 3-5-2 with Hazard and Morata up front, but stellar performances from the likes of Willian and Giroud may prove hard to ignore.
“It was a positive night for us because we had the opportunity to rest some important players. At the same time, I saw players in good form. I have different options. Now we have three days to make the best decision for the game against Barcelona.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Football365
All eyes on Barcelona now.
It feels like these are Antonio Conte's dilemmas ahead of Barcelona. Conte said: "Before an important game, against Barcelona, tonight I go to my house with many doubts in my mind, which is the best starting XI to start the game against Barcelona" #CFC #CHEHUL pic.twitter.com/Y15iEhMn2e— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) February 16, 2018