“Defend well first, then they can use the counter” – Chelsea legend advises Antonio Conte on how to beat Barcelona

Andreas Christensen

Former Chelsea forward Gianfranco Zola has given Antonio Conte tips on how to beat Barcelona in the Champions League.

The Blues will face the La Liga leaders in the Champions League round of 16 at the Camp Nou, in a bid to advance to the quarter final of the competition. The first leg at Stamford Bridge ended 1-1, after Lionel Messi equalized Willian’s second half strike. Although the Blues managed a hard fought 2-2 draw in Spain, when the pair met in 2012’s edition of the competition.

That result was the catalyst for Chelsea to win the Champions League that season, the first and only in their history.

The 1-1 result at Stamford Bridge makes Antonio Conte’s job at Camp Nou more difficult, as Chelsea will have to force a 2-2 draw or a straight away win to negotiate passgae into the last eight.

Zola thinks the Blues would have to set up to counter Barcelona’s attack while being defensively solid to hold off their threat.

“It’s not going to be easy. Playing in Barcelona is a tough game. But Chelsea are a strong team, with good players. I think they can go there and surprise Barcelona, they have the ability to do that. Chelsea have the type of players Barcelona don’t like very much, so in my opinion, it’s still an open game.

They will have to defend well. The first leg was 1-1, Barcelona will want to try to win the game [and not rely on the away goal advantage]. I’m sure they will want to be safe. If Chelsea defend well first, then they can use the counter as they can do really well. I think they stand a very good chance.”

Gianfranco Zola, CalcioMercato