Chelsea boss Antonio Conte warns fans over Champions League expectations

Annette Crawford
December 7, 2017

Captain Gary Cahill has admitted Chelsea would rather avoid Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain in the first knockout round of the Champions League.

A balanced draw has two-time defending champion Real Madrid and Bayern Munich among five former winners in the pot of unseeded teams who were group runners-up. Jose Mourinho's men look capable of a decent run in Europe too this season, although they will want to avoid Real Madrid and Bayern in Monday's draw for the knockout stage.

United finished top of Group A on Tuesday night, while Chelsea finished second behind Group C winners Roma on goal difference.

It means they will be drawn against a victor of another group in Monday's last-16 draw and, as UEFA regulations prohibit teams from the same nation facing each other in the first knockout round, Lionel Messi's Barca and Neymar's PSG are among the few possible opponents.

Cahill won the European Cup in 2012 with Chelsea, who remain the most recent English team to make the final. As the other four English sides won their groups, and Chelsea can not be drawn against Roma again, it leaves only three possible opponents: Barcelona, Besiktas or Paris Saint-Germain - meaning they have a very high chance of a tough tie.

Barcelona's possible opponents: Basel, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and Oporto.

Manchester City had already claimed top spot in this group, having won all five of their group games heading into their last game. That means Chelsea can not draw Roma, Manchester United can not be drawn to play against Basel and Tottenham will not be up against their Group H opponents Real Madrid. Of the four Spanish sides to have entered the tournament at the start of the year just Atlético have been eliminated as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla march on. Liverpool's tally, which included 7-0 wins over Spartak and Maribor, was a record for an English club, beating Manchester United's 20 en route to winning the 1998-99 competition.

Round of 16 first-leg games are played from February 13-21.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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