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Willian key to Chelsea hopes against Barca

Sports | Mar 12, 2018
Antonio Conte praised the all-round contribution of Willian after the in-form Brazilian helped Chelsea halt a run of back-to-back league defeats ahead of this week's showdown with Barcelona.

Willian's deflected shot opened the scoring in the 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace, and his clever dummy created the second, an own goal by Martin Kelly.

He has scored five goals in five games, the best run of his Chelsea career, which is timely ahead of the Champions League last-16, second - leg match at Barcelona on Thursday (HK time). That tie is level at 1-1 after the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

But Conte was also pleased by the forward's hard work off the ball.

"He's playing in a fantastic way, not only with the ball - also without the ball. He's working very hard and he's helping the team," the Chelsea manager said. "He has shown great maturity. I hope to see him at this level, continuing these performances. "

Willian also had a shot blocked on the line by James Tomkins and a free-kick saved by Wayne Hennessey. Olivier Giroud, meanwhile, might have had a hat-trick but is still waiting for his first Chelsea goal in the Premiership.

Conte warned that Chelsea need to do more against Barcelona, saying: "We will have to show great resilience. We will be playing against one of the best teams in the world. We have to find the right plan."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE



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