By Boluwatife Ezekiel Olaleye
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insists Chelsea will be one of the teams to avoid in the draw for the last-16 stage of the Champions League.
The Blues missed out on the victory required against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night to top Group C, meaning that they will not be among the seeded sides for Monday’s draw.
Should Liverpool beat Spartak Moscow on Wednesday, Chelsea’s next opponents will be restricted to one of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain or Besiktas.
Conte is confident in his side’s ability to progress through no matter which team comes out of the hat, though, telling reporters: “When you play this competition, then you go through, you must be ready to face the best teams, in this case we know we could play against Barcelona, PSG or Besiktas.
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“We must be ready, because this is the best tournament and for this, if we want to go through or be a protagonist in this tournament you must be ready to face every team. I think our opponent would not be happy to play against us.
“I remember during the European Championship with the [Italy] national team, we finished first in our group and then played against Spain, then Germany, and then if we beat Germany we’d have to play against France. Sometimes it’s not so important. To reach the next round we must be happy with this, and after a performance like this I think the coach must be happy.”
Only once before have Chelsea collected fewer points in the current format of the Champions League group stage – 2012-13, when eliminated from the competition.