Antonio Conte reveals Chelsea tactics in plan to stop Barcelona and Lionel Messi

Chelsea host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.

Chelsea the endured a rocky season in the Premier League and have had their defensive frailties exposed in Europe too.

Barcelona are free-scoring at home and on the continent this term and head to Stamford Bridge with a fully-fit attacking arsenal.

And Conte was asked if his side will target Lionel Messi to stop the Argentine running the show.

“This is a good question,” he said at his pre-match press conference.

“We are talking about the best player in the world. He has the capacity to solve the situation and create the chance when you don’t see it.

“It means we are talking about a fantastic player.

“But not only Messi but Suarez is a dangerous player. We have to stop all of Barcelona and work very hard and know during the game that we must prepare to suffer.”

Chelsea have won back-to-back games and kept clean sheets in both outings, having previously lost three in four.

But Conte is still aware of his side’s vulnerabilities at the back.

“I think we start this game as underdog for sure,” Conte conceded.

“Barcelona on paper are favourites to go to the next round. We must be excited to have this challenge.

“These games are important to know our level in this competition. We work and prepared well for this game. It won’t be easy.

“They are having a fantastic season, they are top of the league and are the potential to win their cup.”

He added: “We are talking about a massive game.

“A big challenge for us, one of the best in the world.

“I think this type of game we must be excited to play them.

“For sure it won’t be easy because we are talking about a fantastic team with fantastic players.

“We must pay great attention and must have ambition to play our football.

“We know the characteristics of them. They like to dominate the game.

“In every game they can create chances to score and for this reason we must be prepared to suffer without the ball and be compact and with the ball do what we know.”

Chelsea star Eden Hazard also spoke in the pre-match press conference and echoed Conte’s insistence that defence is the key to beating Barcelona.

“We need to defend as a team, if we don’t then we are in trouble,” he said.

“It is right to play our football. We like the ball and when we have it we need to score goals.

“Tonight is key at Stamford Bridge.”

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