Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has admitted that his team must produce the ‘perfect game’ to get the better of Barcelona in their Champions League last-16 tie.
The Blues will battle the La Liga league leaders at Stamford Bridge for the opening leg on Tuesday night.
Conte, however, insisted Chelsea face a huge challenge against the Catalan club, who stayed undefeated in the La Liga after defeating Eibar 2-0 on Saturday, which moved Ernesto Valverde’s men 10 points clear in the Spanish topflight league.
“On one hand you know this team are one of the best in the world – maybe they are favorites’ to win this competition,” Conte told reporters.
“On the other hand, we must be excited because we have a great opportunity to play a massive game against a really strong team and to show which is our level.
“For sure we are talking about one of the best teams in the world. We have to try to, I repeat, have the perfect game.
“The perfect game to try to make the best decisions for this type of team, because this is a different opponent. They have fantastic characteristics with the ball, but they can have weaknesses without the ball and we have to try and exploit this.”
Conte believes it would be dangerous for Chelsea to focus solely on stopping Messi, who has never scored against the Premier League champions.
“I hope to continue this tradition [of Messi not scoring against Chelsea] but I repeat we are talking about a fantastic player and we must have great respect.
“But at the same time we must try to be excited to play this type of game and this challenge.
“We are talking about one of the best players in the world but, for sure, we have to work together, work with the team and not only with one player to try and stop him. Because I think that when we feel this type of challenge to man-mark [a player], Messi can become very dangerous,” Conte said.