Chelsea coach Antonio Conte lamented the mistake which cost his side against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Willian had given the Premier League side the lead and they looked set to win the game until Andreas Christensen’s mistake led to Lionel Messi’s equaliser.
It left Conte with contrasting emotions. On one hand, the Italian was happy with his side’s performance, but on the other he was disappointed not to see the game out.
“One mistake,” he bemoaned. “But as you know very well against this opponent, this type of player like Messi, [Luis] Suarez and [Andres] Iniesta, if you make a mistake you pay.
“It’s a pity because I think, over the game, we are disappointed for the final result. Two shots off the post with Willian. There is a bit of disappointment.
“But at the same time this game must give us a lot of confidence to trust that in the second leg. The qualification is open. It won’t be easy. We must be realistic. We are talking about Barcelona. They show tonight to be a strong, fantastic team.”
Asked if he regretted his decision to play Christensen over the more experienced Gary Cahill, Conte’s response was firm.
“No, no, no,” he said. “I think it was a great performance, an incredible performance. We’re talking about a player he’s only 21, 22. It’s great that he can play this game with this maturity.
“I am very happy. For me he was one of the best players. It’s very difficult to say one or another player, but I pick him. He played a very good game. I am pleased with his performance.”
Chelsea were cautious on the night and Conte explained his reason for not coming up with a more attacking game plan.
“When you play against Barcelona you know very well that if you want to face them box-to-box then you are crazy and you lose the game,” the coach said.
“And not 1-0 but, like happens in Spain, 4-0, 5-0, 6-0. You must play with intelligence, especially if you know that [Barca are a] level up on us.
“What we are trying to do is important with a lot of young players. You must play an intelligent game, we are not stupid.”