Andreas Christensen cost Chelsea victory against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday, but Antonio Conte hailed the defender's "incredible" performance.
After a flawless defensive display at Stamford Bridge, where the Premier League champions led through Willian's strike, Christensen's loose pass evaded Cesc Fabregas with 15 minutes to play.
Barca captain Andres Iniesta subsequently set up Lionel Messi to beat the otherwise untested Thibaut Courtois to earn the Catalans a crucial away goal to take into the second leg on March 14.
Conte left club captain Gary Cahill on the bench but the Italian said he did not regret selecting Christensen in the heart of a back three, the Denmark international flanked by Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta.
"It was a great performance, an incredible performance," Conte told a post-match news conference. "He is only 21 and it is great he can play with that maturity. He was one of the best players. He played a top game and I am very pleased for his performance.
"I don't remember a great save from Thibaut. They had the one chance in the first half with Paulinho and then the second half with [Luis] Suarez. I think we played a really good game and I must be pleased because my players made a great effort. They followed the plan, the programme we prepared.
"They showed themselves to be a really strong team, a fantastic team, but we showed that if we are ready to work very hard together defensively but at the same time when you continue to have the right feeling with the ball to create the chance to score I think that we can try to do something incredible at Camp Nou."
Antonio Conte says we were very close to playing a perfect game. He says there was one mistake but against this type of opponent, if you do that, you pay. There is a bit of disappointment but this game must give us confidence he adds. #CHEBAR— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 20, 2018
Conte did not make his first change until 83 minutes had been played, Alvaro Morata replacing Pedro, with Danny Drinkwater then coming on for former Barca midfielder Fabregas.
But Conte, who did not use his third substitution, with Olivier Giroud among the players left on the bench, reiterated that he felt Chelsea – who fielded a front three of Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard – performed to a high standard.
"Without the mistake Barca were struggling to create a chance to score," Conte said. "We tried to exploit the situation. Don't forget we hit the post twice and we were unlucky. We gave 120 per cent.
"Our three strikers played very well and a fantastic game. Willian played really well against Hull [City in the FA Cup] and in the last three games we have scored eight times – seven with Willian, Pedro and Hazard. We must be pleased with the game, not the final result."
19 de septiembre 2018
|Kovac: Madrid strong without Ronaldo, Messi is the best|
|ATP suspends umpire Lahyani over Kyrgios ´pep talk´ at US Open|
|North and South Korea seek to co-host 2032 Olympics|
|Ampadu signs long-term Chelsea contract|
|Don´t blame Neymar, PSG players all guilty - Thiago Silva|
|Real Madrid seek to plug Ronaldo scoring gap – Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Brewers allow Cardinals to inch closer with loss to Reds|
|Manchester is still red – Depay ahead of Lyon´s clash with City|
|Orioles become first pro team to wear braille jerseys|
|Klopp hails ´brilliant´ Henderson|
|PSG attack lacked aggression, says Tuchel|
|Atletico Tucuman 0 Gremio 2: Libertadores holders draw first blood in QFs|
|Thomas plays down wrist worry|
|Rakitic wants more from Barcelona hat-trick hero Messi|
|My players aren´t s*** – Pochettino defends Spurs squad|
|Cubs reliever Morrow won´t return this season|
|Tebow expected to be back in Mets organisation next season|
|Inter can compete against anyone – Icardi revels in Champions League victory|
|Tuchel: PSG loss to Liverpool not logical or correct|
|Sturridge in best shape I´ve seen – Klopp|
|Milojevic celebrates ´fantastic´ occasion after Red Star´s 26-year wait|
|Rodrigo and Simeone salute Griezmann display|
|Seahawks DE Clark on Bears QB Trubisky: He´s nothing special|
|Carroll says Wilson has been ´over-trying a little bit´|
|Judge returns to Yankees´ starting lineup|
|Napoli boss Ancelotti takes aim at Red Star time wasting|
|Favre admits young Dortmund stars struggled in Bruges|
|Otavio would trade goal for Porto victory as he bemoans Schalke draw|
|Championship Review: Pacesetters Leeds crush Preston, Villa end five-game winless run|
|Neymar world-class but not a defender - Klopp says Liverpool targeted PSG star|
|Waiters injury update: Heat guard unlikely to be ready for start of season|
18 de septiembre 2018
|Gojowczyk eliminates returning Tsonga in Metz|
|Liverpool enjoying best start in 57 years after PSG win|
|Galatasaray 3 Lokomotiv Moscow 0: Terim´s side make light work of Russians|
|Club Brugge 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Super sub Pulisic scores late winner|
|Schalke 1 Porto 1: Fahrmann saves one penalty, but Otavio scores another|
|Red Star Belgrade 0 Napoli 0: Points shared as Italians fail to make possession pay|
|Liverpool 3 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Firmino strikes late as Reds edge five-goal thriller|
|Monaco 1 Atletico Madrid 2: Costa and Gimenez seal comfortable win|
|Chaos reigns in Serie B as league denies suspension claim|
|India secure Asia Cup victory despite valiant Hong Kong effort|
|Messi makes "extraordinary routine", says Valverde after Barca star surpasses Ronaldo|
|Spalletti´s Inter to take heart from Tottenham turnaround|
|Casillas features in landmark 20th Champions League campaign|
|Spurs deserved more from best performance of the season - Pochettino|
|Brown absent from Steelers facility on Monday due to ´personal matter´|
|Toronto´s Bussey given eight-match biting ban|
|Barcelona 4 PSV 0: Marvellous Messi lights up Camp Nou|
|Inter 2 Tottenham 1: Icardi, Vecino complete dramatic late turnaround|
|Allegri, Chiellini defend Costa over spitting ban|
|Firmino only fit enough for bench duty|
|Kovac applauds Sanches ahead of Benfica homecoming|
|Tomlin confirms Steelers WR Brown was absent from facility on Monday|
|Mourinho tells United to follow Federer´s lead amid Young Boys pitch concerns|
|Costa banned for four Serie A matches for spitting|
|PGA Tour announces changes to FedEx Cup Playoffs format|
|Rashford to start against Young Boys, Mourinho confirms|
|Ryder Cup heading to Congressional in 2036|
|I never listen to stupid things - De Gea unconcerned by criticism|
|Aguero trains as Mendy sits out Man City session|
|Lampard fined after accepting improper conduct charge|
|Serie B suspended after Pro Vercelli win appeal|
|Mitchell returns to England as defence coach|
|Brady completes Cornet upset in Guangzhou|
|Lopetegui giving no guarantees to ´fighter´ Navas|
|Di Francesco denies racially abusing Costa|
|Saunders apologises for ´sickening´ online video|
|Tianjin Quanjian 0 Kashima Antlers 3 (0-5 agg): Semi-final spot booked in resounding fashion|
|Madrid cannot live on Ronaldo´s glories, warns Ramos|
|Real Madrid are Champions League favourites, insists Man City coach Arteta|