Chelsea forward Willian joined manager Antonio Conte in urging the club’s modern-day vintage to write their own version of Camp Nou escapology when they face Barcelona in Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg.
Having conceded an away goal in the first leg, Conte’s men must follow in the footsteps of Chelsea sides of old and earn a positive result at the iconic stadium if they are to have any hope of progressing to the quarter-finals.
Camp Nou was the setting for one of Chelsea’s most triumphant European nights — an against-the-odds 2-2 draw against Pep Guardiola’s then-reigning champions in the 2012 semi-finals.
The backs-to-the-wall defending with 10 men and Fernando Torres’s last-gasp goal which sent the Blues on their way to becoming London’s first European champions made it a landmark game in the club’s history.
Now, as Chelsea’s current crop prepare for their own showdown against the La Liga frontrunners, Willian has called on them to draft an updated chapter to insert in their continental back catalogue.
“I was watching that game [2-2 in 2012],” said the Brazilian. “But every game has its own history. Tomorrow is another history in this game and for us to go through we have to do a perfect game with the ball and without it.”
Conte agreed with Willian that his side cannot put a foot wrong if they are to knock out the defending Spanish champions.
Chelsea must at least record a score draw if they are to progress to the last eight, but Conte has warned his players they must not neglect their defensive duties for even a second.
With rhetoric that recalled the scrambled defensive display that marked Chelsea’s 2012 performance once captain John Terry had been sent off during the first-half, Conte said his side would have to “suffer”.
“In the first leg we played a really good game and almost a perfect game,” he said.
“We must start the game with great concentration, to stay with our heads on the pitch in every moment of the game, to know there are moments where we have to suffer.
“Barcelona like to try to dominate the game, to have a lot of the possession, and then to try to use the players between the lines and then go straight at goal.
“For this moment we must pay attention to concentrate and suffer. To defend well, you have to suffer.”
Barcelona may be without midfielder Andres Iniesta, who only returned to training this week following a hamstring injury. David Luiz and Ross Barkley remain sidelined for the Blues, while Conte hinted that striker Alvaro Morata could start.