Ernesto Valverde has admitted that Chelsea made Barcelona 'suffer' before the Catalan giants' eventual 3-0 victory secured their Champions League progression.
La Blaugrana completed a 4-1 aggregate win over the reigning Premier League champions with the triumph at Camp Nou on Wednesday night as a Lionel Messi brace and and Ousmane Dembele's strike handed the hosts a place in the quarter finals.
In quotes published by Goal, Valverde cut a relieved figure as he explained why his side had to fight tooth and nail to secure passage to the last eight against a Chelsea team that more than gave them a game.
He said: "We suffered a lot in this game because they were pressing really hard and creating a lot of danger.
"They showed they were a great team with great players and we were lucky enough to knock them out.
"I have to admit they have been a great rival, a great team. It's been a very difficult tie, both legs. I think we scored with the first chance we had."
Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger hit the frame of the goal for Antonio Conte's men as the visitors tried in vain to rescue their tie and arguably didn't deserve to lose by the scoreline they did.
In the form of the world-class Messi, however, Chelsea came up short as the Argentina captain's early goal moved him onto 100 Champions League strikes for the current La Liga leaders.
His second goal on the night added the gloss on the win for Valverde's men and the latter reserved special praise for his legendary star in the wake of the contest.
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He said: "That goes with Messi's personality, the sense of responsibility that he has. He knows in certain moments stars have to come out. He forces himself to do that.
"There's no guarantee that he's going to score but he is a fantastic player. We enjoy him. We're lucky enough to be seeing something that will go down in history."