By 90Min
March 14, 2018

Antonio Conte admitted that he has sought the counsel of his players ahead of Chelsea's Champions League round of 16 second leg with Barcelona, in order to get their take on how best to approach the game tactically.

After the 1-1 draw of the first leg at Stamford Bridge, followed by underwhelming defeats to both Manchester clubs, Eden Hazard's among other players' comments made headlines for appearing to criticise his team's tactical approach.

After the Manchester City defeat, Hazard openly questioned the Blues' approach, and, in particular, his own deployment as a central forward.

"I had the feeling that I’d ran, but that I hadn’t played a game of football. That’s a pity", he said. "We could have played on for three hours, but I wouldn’t touch a ball. It only went better at the end of the game.

"We did not play with our qualities and if Alvaro Morata or Giroud is playing, it’s easier to play with long balls. But I’m trying to do the maximum."

As reported by the Guardian, Conte - who warned his players that they must be 'ready to suffer' against La Liga leaders - held a team meeting at Chelsea's Cobham training facility on Monday, ahead of Wednesday's clash with Barça, with one purpose of the meeting being to listen to his players’ opinions regarding tactics. 

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

Speaking in his press conference, Conte said: "Sometimes it is important also to share the responsibility with the players that you have to prepare for this type of game.

“In every game I have to decide the starting XI and not the players, because the players are the players and the manager is the manager. But sometimes, before this type of game, it is more important to involve totally the players and then to listen. 

"This tie seems close and, for this reason, I think that we have to try the best plan for the game against Barcelona.”

The Guardian report also suggests that Olivier Giroud could start at Camp Nou, with Hazard - if consulted - more keen to play out wide or deeper, and with summer signing Álvaro Morata still struggling for form.

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