Barcelona vs Chelsea FC - Antonio Conte: Hazard must win more trophies to emulate Iniesta



Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2018 by PA

Barcelona vs Chelsea FC - Antonio Conte: Hazard must win more trophies to emulate Iniesta

Antonio Conte called on Eden Hazard to win “important trophies” to be considered in the same class as Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta.

Chelsea must score in Wednesday night’s Champions League last-16 second leg at the Nou Camp to have any chance of advancing at Barcelona’s expense.

Iniesta is a doubt with a hamstring injury and Conte waxed lyrical when asked about the differences facing Barcelona without the Spain playmaker.

The Blues head coach was later asked about Hazard, and, although insisting they were different players, occupying different positions, Conte says the Belgium ace must become a more prolific winner of trophies to emulate Iniesta.

“We are talking about two different players with different careers,” Conte said.

“Iniesta won a lot in his career and Hazard has to start to win important trophies in his career.

“We are talking about two different players. Hazard is more a number 10 and Iniesta is a thinking midfielder.

“And a midfielder that thinks, to stay always in the centre of Barcelona’s play.”

Conte could select Hazard in the “false nine” role again, or use Olivier Giroud or Alvaro Morata as a more conventional striker.

Whoever plays up front, Conte says his players must be prepared to be starved of the ball on Wednesday night and make the most of any opportunity.

He said: “The final result for the first leg gives a greater advantage for Barcelona.

“We must start the game with great concentration, to stay with our heads on the pitch in every moment, to know there will be moments we have to suffer, to be compact.

“When I speak about ‘suffer’, I think every team must be prepared to suffer possession, because Barcelona like to try to dominate the game.

“And then when you have the ball you must have in your head, your heart, the feeling you have to go to try to take the chance to score.”

Lionel Messi will never leave Barcelona as he is perfectly at home, team-mate Sergio Busquets said.

Messi’s first goal in nine games against Chelsea in the first leg gives Barca a slender advantage.

Asked whether he can imagine Messi being prised away from Barca by a Premier League club, Busquets said the Argentina playmaker has few reasons to leave.

“I think he feels at home here,” Busquets said. “When you feel at home with all the things you have here – this is a big club, with good players next to you, you win different trophies, this is a good project, economically he’s doing well.

“All of this is positive. It’s difficult to find this in other places.

“We know the Premier League is a spectacular league. We would like to play there, but if you take all the positives and all the negatives, it’s very difficult to leave Barcelona.

“If you feel at home and you’re from Barcelona it’s difficult to change.”

Messi last week became a father for a third time, missing the win at Malaga last Saturday as a result but is expected to return.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde says Iniesta will only be selected if the Spain playmaker is fully fit.

Valverde said: “Well, he played a big part of the training session yesterday without a problem. We’ll see how he feels today and decide.

“It’s a very important game. It’s down to the player. It’s a game you can only play if you’re 100 per cent.”

Busquets says Barcelona would settle for a goalless draw to advance to the last eight – and is wary of the Blues scoring.

Busquets said: “We don’t want to speculate, although 0-0 would be a good result. If they score we will be really suffering for that.”

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