Champions League

Barcelona defeat unfair, says Conte

2018-03-15 08:15
Lionel Messi and Antonio Conte (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte lavished praise on Barcelona match-winner Lionel Messi on Wednesday following his side’s 3-0 defeat, but insisted that the result was "unfair".

Messi scored a goal in each half, the second his 100th Champions League goal, and produced an assist for Ousmane Dembele as the Spanish giants ran out 4-1 winners on aggregate.

The loss means Chelsea could miss out on the competition next season if they fail to make the top four in the Premier League, but Conte said he was pleased with the effort of his players.

"We have no regrets," said the Italian. "If you watch the game, you can see the final result is unfair. A fantastic player moved the final result, moved the qualification over the two legs.

"I have to praise the commitment of my players, and be proud because they gave everything.

"But Messi made the difference and, when you have the opportunity to make a great compliment to Messi, it’s right to praise a super, super, super top player.

"A player who is able to score 60 goals in every season. Not only for one season. We are talking about an extraordinary player, the best in the world.

"He’s a player who can change the final result for any team he is playing in. But he started to play with Barcelona and, for sure, he will finish his career in Barcelona.

"Many teams can hope to have him in their team, but it won’t be possible. This is a great story for Barcelona and Messi.

"This type of player is born once every 50 years. We are talking about one single player with this capacity, with this ability, with these skills. He’s fantastic."

Conte, whose side created many chances and hit the woodwork four times over the two matches, said he considered the Blues had been unlucky.

"They scored three times but I think we didn’t deserve this type of result,” he said.

"We were a bit unlucky because we created many chances to score.

"I think there was a penalty on Marcos Alonso at the start of the second half and, if you make it 2-1, you can put a bit of pressure on Barcelona.

"At the end, I repeat. I must be pleased with the commitment of my players. I saw great work from my players."

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