Cape Town - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte had only kind words for Andreas Christensen despite his costly error in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the Champions League.
Willian gave the Blues the lead after twice hitting the post at Stamford Bridge, but a misplaced pass from the Dane allowed Andres Iniesta to tee up Lionel Messi for an away-goal equaliser.
"It was a great performance, an incredible performance," Conte said after leaving club captain Gary Cahill on the bench to go with Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, and Cesar Azpilicueta in central defence.
"He is only 21 and it is great he can play with that maturity. He was one of the best players. He played a top game and I am very pleased for his performance.
"I don't remember a great save from Thibaut. They had the one chance in the first half with Paulinho and then the second half with [Luis] Suarez.
"I think we played a really good game and I must be pleased because my players made a great effort. They followed the plan, the programme we prepared.
"They showed themselves to be a really strong team, a fantastic team, but we showed that if we are ready to work very hard together defensively but at the same time when you continue to have the right feeling with the ball to create the chance to score I think that we can try to do something incredible at Camp Nou."
The return leg is set for March 16 at Barcelona's famous Camp Nou.