The Champions League is back as Barça take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday at 8.45pm CET in the first leg of their last 16 tie. Blaugrana boss Ernesto Valverde appeared before the press in London on Monday, revealing the expectation associated with the return of Europe’s premier club competition. “We are all looking forward to it starting again as we have been waiting for this game for a long time,” said Valverde.

“The Champions League has a special aura and that means everyone is looking forward to playing in games like this one which will be a tough tie against a difficult opponent,” continued the coach.

The Barça boss was full of praise for his opposite number, Antonio Conte. “He is one of the best coaches in the world with an extraordinary CV, not just with Chelsea but also with Juventus and the Italian national side. His teams are always hard working and they knew what they have to do. For me it’s a great challenge to come up against one of his sides,” admitted Valverde.

Finally, Valverde touched on the subject of Chelsea’s tactical system. “They have a defined way of playing and we have to take that into account. The mechanisms are different, the same way that they will have to take into account our way of playing,” said the coach before concluding: “The Premier League teams are having a great Champions League and we can’t forget we are playing against the current English league champions.” 

Conte: 'Barça are one of the best teams in the world'

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte also appeared before the press on Monday, describing Barça as "one of the best teams in the world." The Italian added: "These games are always tough, we are up against a fantastic team. They have a complete squad and players like Messi, Luis Suárez and Iniesta and they are having a great season." 
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