Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has defended his decision to play 21-year-old defender Andreas Christensen in Tuesday night's Champions League tie against Barcelona.
Christensen made a risky pass across his own box with his side 1-0 to the good, which allowed Lionel Messi to step in and punish him by scoring the 75th-minute equaliser.
Sky Sports report that, speaking after the match, Conte said: "I think Christensen's performance was a very good performance, an incredible performance. We are talking about a player who is only 21 years old here.
"It's great that he is able to play this game with maturity and personality. I am very happy. He was one of the best players tonight.
"It is very difficult to pick one player or another player but I think Christensen played a top game. I am very pleased with his performance."
Stupid question. Hope Christensen doesn't take the mistake to heart. Conte is spot on.— Tom Andrews (@CarefreeTom_182) February 20, 2018
Speaking about his side's general performance, Conte praised his side for being 'very close to playing the perfect game' but said he is aware that mistakes will be punished when playing against word class players like Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez.
"When you play against Barcelona, we know that if we want to play against them box to box then we are crazy. You are going to lose the game. Not only 1-0 or 2-0 but like what happens in Spain, 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0.
"When you play this type of game you must use your intelligence. We know that this team now, their level is more up than us. When you have many young players, you must pay something in experience.
"For this reason, we must play an intelligent game and I repeat we are not stupid."