September 19, 2021

Champions League: Chelsea’s win in Madrid proves they can knockout Barca ―Willian

February 21, 2018

Willian believes Chelsea are good enough to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League at the Camp Nou because they won at Atletico Madrid this season.

Chelsea had to settle for a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their last-16 tie after Willian’s second-half strike was cancelled out by Lionel Messi.

Barcelona have not lost at the Camp Nou in the Champions League since 2013 – a run lasting 24 games. The Blues could always go through on away goals or penalties, yet that is still a tough task.

Willian, however, insists Chelsea are not daunted by the challenge facing them next month after achieving the rare feat of beating Atletico Madrid in the group stage away from home back in September.

Chelsea’s 2-1 victory is still regarded as their best performance of the campaign and when asked if they need to match it in the return leg at Barcelona, Willian said: “Yes, of course. We can go there and do a great job again.

“It will be a completely different game, to play there is different. But if we go with the same mentality as we did against Atletico, we can go with great spirit and win the game.

“Of course winning at Atletico gives us confidence. We want to play in big games like this one. It’s really important. We must prepare well.”

Defender Marcos Alonso also believes the Atletico display will give the players the self-belief they need to repeat the feat against the Liga leaders.

He added: “Atletico is a fine example of a good performance from us this season. We will have to take all the positives things from the first leg and put an extra shift in Barcelona.

“It will be even more difficult but we can do it. We will fight for it until the end. We will definitely not fear it.

“Drawing the first leg is disappointing. We did a perfect game apart from a mistake for their goal.”

Andreas Christensen was responsible for the equaliser when his sloppy pass across the penalty area was intercepted by Andres Iniesta and he passed to an unmarked Messi to level the scores.

It was Messi’s first goal against Chelsea in nine attempts and was the only chance he had throughout the 90 minutes.

Alonso has backed Christensen, who has impressed at centre-half all season, to recover from the disappointment.

“Andreas is okay,” he said. “It was a mistake but it can happen to anyone.

“Will he bounce back from this? Yes, definitely. He has had a very good season so far. We will have a tough 90 minutes to play in Barcelona but Chelsea will give them problems.”

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is convinced Messi’s strike has swung the balance of the tie their way.

Chelsea surrendered possession for long periods, with Barcelona having 68 per cent of the ball, to hit them on the counter attack.

Suarez claims Chelsea will have to change their defensive tactics now they need an away goal in Spain.

He said: “It was a beneficial goal for the second leg. Now they have to try to score at the Camp Nou and we’ll have more space.”

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