The rhetoric and the trumpeted message from Conte has been about playing a perfect game and suffering. Suffer they will at Camp Nou if he sets up his team as negatively as he did against Manchester City. What he needs is an absolute miracle to qualify for the quarterfinals.
In 13 meetings between the two sides, Barcelona have won three with Chelsea boasting four triumphs with the last clear victory in these head-to-heads going for Chelsea in 2014 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Conte said his side almost played the perfect game in the first leg as Barcelona escaped with a 1-1 result and Willian said the same at the pre-match press conference but in this return leg, Conte has warned his forwards that they will have to suffer with the rest of the team against a great team like Barcelona.
Whether they suffer or dish out the suffering would be hinged on these questions – first, would Conte give in to Eden Hazard’s pleas to not be a false No.9? And will it be Olivier Giroud, who did so well against Crystal Palace who will start in place of an uncertain Alvaro Morata?
For Ernesto Valverde, it is very simple. Lionel Messi starts behind Luis Suarez with Ousmane Dembele who was fantastic against Malaga, and Andres Iniesta starting wide left and right. He revealed at his press conference that small details might come into play on Wednesday. “The small details can end up deciding the game. That’s what happens when you have such great players out on the field”