Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has announced that midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko is not expected to feature in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona but the Blues will be boosted by the return to action of defender Marco Alonso.
Alonso sat out Chelsea’s 4-0 rout of Hull City in the FA Cup fifth round on Friday, having missed back-to-back Premier League fixtures due to hamstring and ankle problems while struggling midfielder Bakayoko was also absent for the clash at Stamford Bridge amid his woes and head coach Conte all but ruled out the Frenchman for Tuesday’s visit of LaLiga leaders Barca.
“Bakayoko I don’t think will be available for the Barcelona game, but Alonso is ready to play,” Conte told reporters.
Olivier Giroud and Willian starred as Chelsea reached the FA Cup quarter-finals on Friday.
Giroud – a January signing from London rivals Arsenal – scored his first goal for the Blues, Willian netted a brace, while Pedro was also on target.
“It’s important for Giroud’s confidence. When you score your confidence grows,” Conte added. “It was also important for Willy to score twice, and for Pedro to score. We need goals from our strikers.”
“Willian’s performance was impressive,” the Italian boss continued. “I hope to see always this type of performance, because when Willy plays in this way it’s a great joy for me, the team and the fans. He played very well and I’m very happy.”