By 90Min
December 06, 2017

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was pragmatic after his side had to settle for second place in Group C, insisting teams will want to avoid facing the reigning Premier League champions in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

After the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were overtaken in the group by Roma, whilst Atletico Madrid finished in third place and had to settle for a place in the Europa League. 

Speaking to Sky Sports post-match, Conte said: "When you play this competition, then you go through, you must be ready to face the best teams, in this case we know we could play against Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas.

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"We must be ready, because this us the best tournament and for this, if we want to go through or be a protagonist in this tournament you must be ready to face every team.

"I think our opponent would not be happy to play against us."

A Stefan Savic own-goal cancelled out Saul Niguez's headed opener to make sure Chelsea and Atletico Madrid left the final group game with something to show, however the draw benefited neither side in the end. 

Conte however wanted to play down the importance of topping the group, referring back to his time as Italy manager as a reminder that finishing top doesn't necessarily mean an easier path to the final.

He continued, stating: "I remember during the European Championship with the national team (Italy 2016), we finished first in our group and then played against Spain, then Germany, and then if we beat Germany we'd have to play against France. 

"Sometimes it's not important. To reach the next round we must be happy with this, and after a performance like this I think the coach must be happy."

Chelsea now face a wait until Monday before finding out who their opponent will be in the last 16 stage of the Champions League which resumes in February of next year.

Between now and then though, Chelsea face a congested fixture schedule, as do all Premier League teams over the festive period, which continues with a Premier League clash away at West Ham in Saturday's lunchtime kick off. 

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