Is there a chance Andreas Christensen's mistake against Barcelona could affect him heading into another huge game for Chelsea against Manchester United on Sunday [25 February]? Not a chance, according to Antonio Conte.
The 21-year-old Dane, arguably the club's outstanding defensive player this season, watched on in horror as his pass across goal at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday was pounced upon by Andres Iniesta who teed up Lionel Messi to score a decisive equaliser, one which leaves Barcelona in control heading into the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
Speaking at a press conference before the weekend trip to Old Trafford, Conte made it clear under no uncertain terms that Christensen will remain a fixture in his first-team while also tipping him to be a future club captain.
After such an otherwise resolute display at the back, the Blues boss could opt to name the same back three as he did against Barcelona at Old Trafford, although Gary Cahill will be hoping to force his way back in, perhaps at the expense of Antonio Rudiger.
Last time Chelsea visited the red half of Manchester, Eden Hazard was unable to escape the shadow of Ander Herrera, who marked the Belgium international out of that contest with a superb individual performance. This Sunday however, Herrera is ruled out injured.
Given his recent shows of faith in Scott McTominay, Jose Mourinho could very well ask the young midfielder to carry out a similar job on Hazard. While he was contained against Herrera last April, Hazard may very well fancy his chances against the more inexperienced McTominay, who will be starting just his fourth game in the Premier League if given the nod, against one of the best the division has to offer.
Hazard started in a false nine role against Barcelona but could be shifted out to his preferred role on the left, behind the striker, if he is to be given the freedom to try and torment United. That will open up space for either Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud to come in and be the focal point of attack. Both were benched for the Barcelona game, not an inspiring show of faith from Conte for either man, but the Spaniard's superb performance in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge last November could still be fresh in his manager's memory.
Morata has not started a game since recovering from a back injury that plagued him in January, coming off the bench in the recent victories over West Bromwich Albion and Hull City before a seven-minute cameo against Barcelona.
But Hazard playing just off Morata was a deadly combination earlier this season and would allow Conte to pack his midfield – an area where United are so often overrun against elite Premier League opposition.