Chelsea could face Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 but Antonio Conte insisted no one would be happy to play his side in the knockout round.
Chelsea lost their grip on top spot in Group C after being held to a 1-1 draw by Atletico Madrid as Roma leapfrogged the Premier League champions with a 1-0 win over Qarabag.
Conte’s men salvaged a point at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday courtesy of a Stefan Savic own goal following Saul Niguez’s opener for Atletico.
As it stands, Chelsea’s only possible last-16 opponents are La Liga leaders Barca, Ligue 1 pacesetters PSG and Turkish giants Besiktas due to English teams leading four of the other seven groups.
However, Conte is not daunted about what lies ahead for Chelsea in Europe.
“When you go through to the next round in this competition, you must be prepared to face the best teams,” Conte said.
“We could play against Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas, but we must be ready. This is the best tournament. That’s why you want to go through and try and be a protagonist in this tournament.
“At the same time, our opponents won’t be happy to play against us. We’ll see what happens. I remember during the European Championship with the national team we finished first in our group and played against Spain, then Germany and, if we’d beaten Germany, we’d have to play France. Sometimes it’s not so important [to finish first].
“We reached the next round and we must be happy with this. After a performance like this, the coach must be [happy].”
On the match itself in London as Chelsea finished level on 11 points with Roma but adrift due to their head-to-head record, Conte added: “I think it was a good game. A good performance. I think we deserved to win the game.
“When you create so many chances to score – important chances, not simple chances – you have to try to take them. Instead, the goalkeeper was the best player for them. In other circumstances, we could be more accurate in our finishing. But, at the same time, we conceded a goal that shows we must improve.
“From a corner… there were a lot of mistakes. When you play this type of big game, the little details are important and shape the final result. Maybe we went 1-0 down in our best moment. But we tried to find the strength to draw and try to win. For this reason, we must be pleased for our group [campaign].
“It was a really tough group, and Atletico Madrid, in the past, played a fantastic Champions League and twice reached the final. It means our group was very tough.”
Source: Sacha Pisani|| Sporting News