Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has admitted to feeling a sense of sadness when his side were drawn to face Barcelona in the last-16 of the Champions League, but insisted the Blues were relishing the challenge.
After failing to top their Champions League group Chelsea were handed the tough task of facing La Liga's current leaders, and despite widely being regarded as the underdogs Conte is confident his side can pull off an upset.
With back-to-back victories under their belt the Italian stressed the importance of relinquishing any fear and going toe-to-toe with their Spanish counterparts.
“To play against Barcelona is a great challenge. This type of game must give us great enthusiasm and we must be excited," Conte said, via the Express.
“They are one of the best team in the worlds. In one side you must be sad to play them but on the other hand you must be excited and you must try to compete with them on this level.
Chelsea will qualify. Mark my words.— Borja García (@BorjaGarciaF) February 15, 2018
“We must have the right confidence. The last two wins were very important for us and our confidence. To win a game in the league and FA Cup. To prepare in the right way against Barcelona.
“Then we are talking about a massive game. Now we must be confident to prepare this game. It starts 0-0 and then we have to move it in the right direction.”
Having rested a host of key players in their comfortable 4-0 victory over Hull in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Friday, Conte has admitted that he faces a tough task selecting his side for Tuesday as fringe players have now thrown their hat into the ring.
He said, via the Daily Star: "For sure when I go home, I have many good doubts because I have to try to make the best decision for Tuesday and to have many options is good for me and good for the team.
"It was a positive night for us because we had the opportunity to rest some important players. At the same time, I saw players in good form. I have different options. Now we have three days to make the best decision for the game against Barcelona.”
The Chelsea boss confirmed Marcos Alonso will be fit to take his place against Barcelona, whilst Tiemoue Bakayoko and David Luiz are set to miss out with injury.