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Messi the difference, says Antonio Conte

Messi the difference, says Antonio Conte

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has said Lionel Messi was the difference between his side and Barcelona on Wednesday evening.

The Catalan side proved too good for Conte’s Premier League champions in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Lionel Messi scoring an impressive double and Ousmane Dembele getting on the score sheet.

The scoreline somewhat flaterred Barca, who were tested by Conte’s side over two legs, and the Italian coach has given his thoughts on the second leg events.

“Tonight in the two legs, Lionel Messi made the difference,” he told BT Sport after the game.

“We are talking about the best player in the world. Over the two legs we were a bit unlucky.

“We hit the post four times. In our best moment today they scored. They were very clinical. We created many chances.”

Messi, who notched his 100th European goal in the game was seen being praised on the pitch by Conte following the game.

“We are talking about a player [Messi] that every season he scores 60 goals. We are talking not about a top player but a super top player. He made the difference.

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“We have no regrets. I must be pleased for the commitment. They gave everything tonight. We didn’t deserve to lose 3-0.

“During the game, from the bench and for me it was a clear penalty on Marcos Alonso. We have to go and move on and to prepare for the game against Leicester on Sunday.”

Barca will now be in the draw for the Champions League quarter-final on Friday morning, joining Real Madrid and Sevilla as the other two Spanish sides left in the competition.

Valverde’s side will now prepare for the weekend fixture with Athletic Club at the Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon, where they will be looking to improve on their impressive lead at the top of the La Liga table.

Barca will likely be without Sergio Busquets, who suffered a toe injury in the game against Chelsea and forced off the field.

Chelsea meanwhile, will now focus on improving their Premier League standing, sitting fifth at present, five points behind Liverpool.