Upon watching both games in Chelsea versus Barcelona’s Champions League tie, many will agree that the 4-1 aggregated scoreline in favour of the Catalans does not reflect the performances put on by both sides. Some could even go as far as to claim Chelsea were the ones who did the most on the occasion and thus deserving more from the match-up.
This notion might have an unexpected supporter in Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde. His team, which had been averaging 61 to 63% ball retention against their opponents at domestic and continental level, had several spells in our meeting last night where they had to endure the advances of a Chelsea team who created loads of chances with high and effective pressing. For Valverde, it was a demonstration of how great Chelsea are as a team as he left the encounter glad for his team to making it through the difficult tie.
“We suffered a lot in this game because they were pressing really hard and creating a lot of danger. They showed they were a great team, with great players, and we were lucky enough to knock them out.”
”I have to admit they have been a great rival, a great team. It’s been a very difficult tie, both legs.”
-Ernesto Valverde; Source: FourFourTwo
There have been plenty of occasions this season in which we doubted our credentials as title contenders on domestic and continental level. But performances such as yesterday’s show that with a bit of good luck and quality, we can go head to head and overcome opponents as difficult as perennial Champions League favourites just as Barça.
Thus, it is more than appropriate for us to remind that better days will come. And even in adversity, we will keep the blue flag flying high wherever we may be.