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Antonio Conte admits Barcelona have given him sleepless nights

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FC Barcelona Training Session Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has admitted that he’s been having trouble sleeping ahead of his side’s clash with Barcelona in the Champions League.

The Blues host Barcelona on Tuesday in the first leg of their last 16 game and go into the match on the back of a 4-0 FA Cup fifth-round win over Hull City.

Conte says that thinking about facing Barcelona has made it hard for him to sleep and says his side will be the underdogs against the La Liga leaders.

“I think that, these days after the game in the FA Cup [against Hull], I must be honest... it was a bit difficult to sleep, to sleep well,” he said.

“But not a lot. When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare.

”You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too.

”We have to play a perfect game against Barcelona if we want to win. I repeat, on paper, you start these two games with one favourite and this is Barcelona.”

Source | ESPN

The Italian also spoke about Lionel Messi, who has famously never scored against Chelsea, but says he’s not the only threat his team must be aware of.

“We are talking about the best player in the world,”he added. “Messi has the capacity to solve the situation and create a chance when you are not seeing the chance to score.

”This means that this player, we are talking about a fantastic player. We have to pay great attention, but not only to Messi. Suarez is a fantastic striker.

”The other team are very dangerous, so we have to work as a team to try and stop Barcelona: Messi, Suarez, Iniesta... the whole team of Barcelona.”

Messi has faced Chelsea eight times in his career without scoring, and he heads to Stamford Bridge without a goal in his last five Barca outings - by his standards you’d feel he’s overdue a goal.