FC Barcelona clash a chance for Chelsea FC ‘to do things right’: Antonio Rudiger
Antonio Rudiger wants Chelsea to seize the opportunity to produce a strong performance in the home leg of their daunting UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie against FC Barcelona.
The Premier League title holders have struggled for consistency this season and suffered consecutive defeats, 3-0 at home to Bournemouth and 4-1 at Watford, in recent weeks.
Antonio Conte’s men responded by seeing off West Brom in the league and then cruising past Hull City in the FA Cup, leaving Rudiger more confident for the visit of LaLiga’s leaders to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
“We can go into the first leg with a good feeling,” he told the London Evening Standard.
“The mental side of playing in Europe is different. You can see Real Madrid haven’t been doing as well as they’re used to in the Spanish league, but in the Champions League they did very well against Paris Saint-Germain last week,” he added, referring to a 3-1 win for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
“This is a different competition, it’s two games. This is a chance for us to do things right and we have to take it. We all know Barcelona like having the ball. We have to try to make the match cat and mouse.
“Of course, it is important we have experienced players. In the last 16, everyone is tough. We are playing at home first and it will not be easy for them to come here, with the fans behind us. We have to do our job and try to do the best we can.
“This is a game of high quality with two good teams.”
Much of the attention, as ever, will fall on Barca superstar Lionel Messi, but Rudiger knows Ernesto Valverde’s side do not have to rely on the Argentina international alone to pose a serious threat.
“There will be 11 Barcelona players on the pitch and we will have to care about every one of them,” he said.
“But they will have to worry and care about players we have, like Eden Hazard, Olivier Giroud, Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas.”