Marcos Alonso says Chelsea have no time to dwell on their Champions League exit and must re-focus on their domestic ambitions of securing qualification for the competition next season.
Lionel Messi was a thorn in the side of Antonio Conte’s men on Wednesday night, scoring twice and assisting Ousmane Dembele’s goal as Chelsea were beaten 3-0 and dumped out at the Nou Camp.
It is the third time their previous three attempts that the Blues have fallen at the last-16 phase.
Marcos Alonso urges Chelsea to fight until the end of the season after Champions League exit
The Blues were beaten 3-0 at the Nou Camp by a ruthless Barcelona side on Wednesday night
The Blues can count themselves unlucky to an extent, having shown quality throughout and striking the woodwork on four occasions across both legs.
Conte’s side travel to Leicester in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final and their next Premier League fixture is on April 1 against top-four rivals Tottenham.
Sitting fifth with eight games remaining, trailing fourth-placed Liverpool by four points and third-placed Spurs by five, a quick turnaround is vital if the Blues are to finish strong.
Alonso admitted the better team won as Barcelona players celebrate one of their three goals
The defender (right) urged his team-mates to push for their place in next season’s competition
Alonso believes Chelsea have enough quality to recover and finish inside the top four
Speaking after Wednesday’s defeat, Alonso told Chelsea TV: ‘It’s fair that they go through, but we showed we are a good team and now we have eight games to fight for a spot and play this competition again next season.
‘It’s hard, but you have to take the positives and fight. There’s no time to regret. There’s only eight games left and the FA Cup. We have to go for it 200 per cent.’
Conte’s future has been the subject of speculation all season and defeats to Leicester and Spurs could lead to questions over whether the Italian will complete the season as boss.
Chelsea won the Premier League in Conte’s first season in charge, but this has been an at times tumultuous campaign.
Antonio Conte insisted after the defeat that Lionel Messi made the difference for Barca
The Italian was keen to praise his players following the loss at the Nou Camp, saying Messi was the difference.
Barca – and Messi – capitalised on errors across the tie to advance at Chelsea’s expense.
‘We deserved more, but against this team you cannot concede and then miss chances,’ Alonso added.
‘We knew we had to take advantage of our chances. They arrived three times and scored three goals. We had so many chances and we didn’t put the ball in.’
Willian, who has been Chelsea’s brightest performer of late, said: ‘Now we have to look forward. We have FA Cup and Premier League to fight for.’
Conte is looking ahead to a crucial period in their season, starting at Leicester in the FA Cup