Chelsea manager Antonio Conte rues the single mistake which gifted Barcelona a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge and prevented the "perfect game".
Willian had put the Blues 1-0 up just after the hour mark but a horrible pass by Andreas Christensen along his own penalty box allowed Lionel Messi to emphatically finish and make Barca favourites for the Champions League round of 16 return leg at Camp Nou next month.
However, in what was a great spectacle under the lights at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea put in a strong performance against Europe's in form team and will be bitterly disappointed that they didn't get more from Conte's masterplan.
As quoted in his post-match press conference by The Daily Express, Conte said: “We were very close to the perfect game. One mistake and we know very well when you make a mistake against Barcelona and players like Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta you pay.
"It is a pity. I am very proud for my players. They followed what we prepared. Tonight we were a bit unlucky. I think when you play this game you must have a plan and respect the characteristics of the opponent.
"Our plan was really good. The effort of the players was great, we are talking about 1-1 and maybe we deserved more.
Given the cat-in-hell's chance most gave Chelsea, that was a masterful performance. Conte's gameplan worked just as he wanted. Only one mistake let the visitors pounce. A tall order to win at Camp Nou, as Blues have to do. But this is Chelsea, and stranger things have happened.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) February 20, 2018
"I think in the second leg we have to play a game against Barcelona and we know his team is very strong and fantastic. The final result and qualification is open, it will be very difficult but our performance gives confidence to try and do something incredible."
Chelsea travel to the Camp Nou on March 14 in the hope of beating Barcelona in their own back yard for the first time in over a year and a half.