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."
|ATP announces candidates to host future Finals|
|Ronaldo: Juventus fans refuse to lose to Torino|
|Hero Rivers feared he had cost Chargers in KC|
|Williams would welcome Llorente back to Athletic Bilbao|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Minding the gap|
|Milan elimination unjust, fumes Leonardo|
|Paul hails ´sick´ Harden after record-breaking display|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Salah, Mane and Firmino v Rashford, Martial and Lukaku in Opta number|
|Canelo open to GGG trilogy as he chases place in Mexican history|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Harden posts record fourth 50-point triple-double in win over Lakers|
|Barcelona squad happy with Dembele, says Alba|
|Chargers rally past Chiefs to clinch playoff spot|
|WATCH: Chargers top Chiefs on dramatic two-point conversion in final seconds|
|Suns owner Sarver committed to keeping team in Phoenix|
|Chargers WR Allen leaves with injury after near-spectacular catch|
|Socceroos not giving up on Mooy for Asian Cup|
|Cooper says Raiders owner wanted to trade him to Cowboys|
|Pochettino jokes Levy is ´worried´ about losing him|
|Barcelona would welcome Morata – Alba|
|Toure not a priority for West Ham – Pellegrini|
|Koscielny no certainty to face Southampton, says Emery|
|We gifted the game – AC Milan boss Gattuso furious after Europa League exit|
|My season starts now, says Koscielny|
|Cipriani ´at peace´ with latest England snub|
|Laporte: Deschamps must have personal reasons for France snub|
|Morata injury not too serious, claims Chelsea boss Sarri|
|Hansen to leave: All Blacks coach returning focus to World Cup defence|
|I want to fight the champion! - Joshua reiterates Wilder in April ambition|
|Gundogan glad to leave Christmas holidays behind|
|I know how it feels and it hurts - Gundogan on Sterling abuse|
|Celtic 1 Red Bull Salzburg 2: Scottish champions through despite defeat|
|Olympiacos 3 AC Milan 1: Rossoneri crash out of Europa League|
|Arsenal 1 Qarabag 0: Lacazette on target as Saka shines|
|Hansen to leave: All Blacks will take time to name replacement|
|Chelsea condemn alleged anti-Semitic chanting from fans|
|Hansen to leave: The best Opta facts from New Zealand coach´s tenure|
|Hansen to leave: Five contenders to be the next All Blacks coach|
|Hansen to leave: Highs and highs of his All Blacks reign|
|Hansen to leave All Blacks after World Cup|
|Rapid Vienna 1 Rangers 0: Late Ljubicic winner sends Gerrard´s men out|
|Beckham continues to miss Giants practice with quad injury|
|Vidi 2 Chelsea 2: Giroud spares Sarri´s side in lacklustre draw|
|Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille fixtures among latest Ligue 1 cancellations|
|Santos turn to ex-Argentina boss Sampaoli|
|Muller could miss Champions League last 16 after Tagliafico kick|
|Home hope Bekker out in front at Alfred Dunhill Championship|
|Van Bommel in touch with Robben over PSV reunion|
|Pinarello chief confident over Team Sky future|
|Stade make Ospreys tickets free in tribute to teenager|
|WRC great Loeb seals Hyundai switch|
|Madrid rumours better than sack talk, says Pochettino|
|Nadal to join Federer at 2019 Laver Cup|
|Prigoda smashes world record, Hosszu dethroned in Hangzhou|
|Former Juve CEO Marotta takes over at Inter|
|Glenn to stand down as FA boss next year|
|Muller apologises to Tagliafico for kick to the head|
|Pereira pleads for more Manchester United chances|
|Griffin hails ´phenomenal´ Lowry after Warriors demolition|
|I´ve played with Zidane and Henry, but Messi is something else – Pires|
|Dragons forward Jack de Belin charged with sexual assault|
|Durant: Raptors are the real deal|
|Cocu bids farewell to Fenerbahce after ´mutual agreement´ is made over October sacking|
|Australia unchanged for historic Perth Test|
|Champions League draw: The possible last-16 ties|
|Southee happy to be back on home soil|
|I wouldn´t swap Dembele for Neymar – Pires|
|Canelo ready to risk heavy weather against Fielding|
|Raptors upstage Warriors, Davis leads Pelicans with 44 points|
|India skipper Kohli excited by green Perth wicket|