Ernesto Valverde says Barcelona goal ‘significant’ in draw at Chelsea in Champions League

Ernesto Valverde declared himself “happy” after Barcelona claimed a 1-1 draw at Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Barca looked as though they were heading for defeat at Stamford Bridge after Willian struck the opening goal in the 62nd minute.

But Lionel Messi pounced on a mistake from Andreas Christensen to score an away goal for Barca with 15 minutes of the game remaining.

“The good thing is that we managed to get an error out of them and we got an equaliser. We go back to the Camp Nou happy,” said Barca boss Valverde.

“I think the equaliser was very important. They might be happy with the result and we have to be respectful of their style of play. They pressed us very high and made life difficult for us.

“We will see what happens in the return leg. The away goal was not definitive but it was significant.”

Barca were largely blunted by a solid defensive performance from Chelsea, who created the better chances and saw Willian hit the post twice in the first half.

But Messi’s goal means Chelsea must now score in the return leg at the Nou Camp on March 14 to have any chance of progressing.

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“It was a clash of styles,” said Valverde. “Two very different teams. We had lots of possession close to their area but after the first few minutes they began to start testing us on the counter-attack.

“We were just lacking a bit of quality in the final third and they defended very well. There was a lot of traffic around their box and we struggled to break through. We just lacked clear-cut chances.”