Antonio Conte Believes Chelsea Were ‘Unlucky’ Against Barcelona

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has stressed that the Blues did not have the luck on their side as they succumbed to a 4-1 aggregate defeat at the hands of Barcelona in the round of 16 of the Champions League. The tie was equally poised after a 1-1 stalemate at Stamford Bridge, but the Blaugrana were more clinical in front of goal at the Camp Nou as they secured a comfortable 3-0 win in the end.

Speaking to Sport Mediaset, Conte admitted that the result in the second-leg was probably unfair with the Blues having dominated the proceedings in the midfield, only to find themselves short of an outlet in the final third. He said: “Luck appears to have turned its back on us this season, even though I don't like to pin everything on misfortune. But I do think tonight's result was unfair. They were good and clinical, but Barcelona have players who are used to these games.”

Meanwhile, there have been plenty of questions raised about the future of Conte at Chelsea beyond the summer, but the 48-year-old has indicated that success should not only be judged on trophies, but rather the development of key players through the current season, he added: “It's not about winning or not. I think that a coach's work should be judged on the development of his players and what you see in terms of the value of the squad, not trophies. Chelsea can do better, but the team is growing.”

Talking about big-game players, Eden Hazard was a particular disappointment over the course of both legs, but Willian managed to show up with intent which surely warrants a contract extension. The Brazil international has been undoubtedly the Blues’ standout performer from February, and his efforts through the double-legged tie were only bettered by Lionel Messi, who broke his scoring duck against the west Londoners with three goals.