Conte Brokers The Players Opinion But Will He Listen
Antonio Conte has been speaking ahead of this week`s game in the Nou Camp against European giants Barcelona. Having tried various striking/non striking options in recent weeks, Conte has shown a propensity to favour Eden Hazard in a 'so called false nine` role against the better teams.
With team selection in mind, Chelsea`s Official Website has recorded his thinking,
"Now we have to prepare for the game, but I think sometimes it is important also to share the responsibility with the players who will be playing when you have to prepare this type of game"
Given the choice then, will Eden Hazard be putting his hand up when asked if he wants to play the false nine role...I think not. Will he end up reluctantly playing it….probably. Conte went on,
"Of course, every game I have to pick the starting XI, because the players are the players and the manager is the manager, but sometimes in this type of game it is more important to involve totally the players and then to listen, because this game seems so close, and we have to try to have the best plan for the game against Barcelona.
We play an important game, it won't be easy, but we have to try to find the best solution to face this game.
So will he be asking or telling. We know it`s going to be difficult to get a result, but not impossible. What the players don`t need is an excuse and Conte`s continual 'bigging up of the opposition` may not help the situation,
"We must be very good but when you play against this type of team, which I think is one of the best in the world, you must be prepared to suffer, in the same way we did in the first leg, where I think we were almost perfect."
This game calls for a different approach though. A 0-0 will not be enough. The sit back and catch them on the break method is difficult to to play against a team like Barcelona, as we saw against City. Conte finishes on a negative that the players will need, to absolve themselves of any blame should the worst happen.
"This is not a [Chelsea] team with great experience, we have a lot of players who are playing their first or second season in the Champions League, but we have to work as a team and try to be ready to suffer the moments we have to suffer, and in every moment we have to know that we can have a chance to score."
Conte should be thinking about making Barcelona suffer rather accepting that Chelsea may have to. Those thoughts should be kept inside his head. Chelsea can win this game, but they have to enter the Nou Camp expecting to do so rather than looking for excuses to underachieve.