Addressing the media ahead of Chelsea’s weekend blockbuster clash against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, Antonio Conte joined everybody else in reinforcing the idea that this was a great performance and one that we can draw plenty of confidence from, even though we ended up not winning and Barcelona have the distinct advantage on the scoreboard for the second leg.
Conte says our performance against Barcelona can give great confidence to our players, and at the same time it shows that if we work hard as a team, it is very difficult to play against us. #MUNCHE— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 23, 2018
“For sure two different performances. After two bad defeats we won against West Brom and Hull and then another good game against Barcelona. It can happen to lose two games. Against Bournemouth we created many chances, Watford was a really bad game. This is the past, for this reason we must be focused for the next game and prepare in the right way. We are talking about at a really strong team .”
There was also the inevitable question about young Andreas Christensen, whose errant pass across Chelsea’s defensive line was the first in a sequence of events that led to Barcelona’s equaliser. Just as Conte did immediately after the game, he spoke in defence of the 21-year-old center-back.
“Personally I forgot this mistake. Also for him, when you are a player during a career you can make a lot of mistakes. It doesn’t matter to you, he is having a fantastic season and showing great maturity. Apart from the mistake his performance was great, wonderful. I trust him and I think he is the present player for Chelsea and future for ten years and can be the captain for Chelsea in the future.”
-Antonio Conte; source: football.london
There’s no doubt that Conte is dealing with the situation in the best possible way or ‘finding the right solution’, as the man himself would say. Christensen’s rise to prominence this season is a clear indicator of the fact that he’s on his way to becoming a top defender; there will be hiccups along the way, just as there have been during his two-year-spell at Borussia Monchengladbach. The most important thing is how he bounces back from them, and no doubt he will do so in the right manner with Conte’s help.