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."
|Stade teenager tragically dies after neck injury|
|Cahill may need to leave Chelsea if he wants to play, admits Sarri|
|Viktoria Plzen 2 Roma 1: Chory winner takes hosts into Europa League|
|Real Madrid 0 CSKA Moscow 3: Champions humiliated at Bernabeu|
|Sarri condemns ´disgusting´ Sterling abuse|
|Hansen hails outstanding Ben Smith ahead of Pau switch|
|Foden, Sterling start for Manchester City v Hoffenheim|
|Sky decision will not affect us in 2019, insist Froome and Thomas|
|Al Ain 3 Team Wellington 3 (aet, 4-3 on penalties): Shootout heartbreak for semi-pros in Club World|
|Jackson to remain Ravens´ starting QB despite Flacco return|
|Rams headline 2019 NFL International Series home teams|
|Rams headline International Series home teams for 2019|
|Atlanta want ´exciting football´ from new boss amid Bielsa links|
|Atlanta still yet to receive ´serious´ bid for ´Bale-like´ Almiron|
|Tottenham v Manchester United to be held at Wembley|
|Matip facing six weeks out with fractured collarbone|
|I´ve had quite a lot of calls – Brailsford encouraged by Team Sky interest|
|Afghanistan Football Federation president provisionally banned by FIFA|
|Knee injury rules Huddersfield´s Mooy out of Asian Cup|
|Arnautovic tipped for Man United move by Austria team-mate Sabitzer|
|Arsenal legend Adams to become RFL president|
|My love for football still burns strong – Toure speaks out amid talk of Premier League return|
|Noble contract extended to 2021|
|Split with Sky is an opportunity, says Brailsford|
|Van der Burgh rolls back the years, two more medals for Hosszu|
|Maitland-Niles praises Sterling for speaking out|
|Life is tough for him right now - Celtic striker Griffiths to take time away from football|
|Froome: Team Sky keen to continue with new partner|
|Emery confirms Koscielny to play against Qarabag|
|Llorente keen on Athletic return|
|I love the guy - Pocock backs under-pressure Cheika|
|Fit-again Ozil in line for Arsenal return against Qarabag|
|Raheem Sterling named Premier League Player of the Month|
|Two more Ligue 1 games postponed due to unrest|
|Pace attack among India´s best ever - Arun|
|Premier League has fostered ´excessive aggression´ among fans, says Scudamore|
|Sharks back Flanagan amid NRL investigation|
|Not good for my recovery! Hoddle delights in Spurs´ Champions League heroics|
|Harris backing Starc to fire in Perth|
|No fears over Atleti´s second-place finish for Simeone|
|Clippers buckled under Raptors pressure - Rivers|
|Icardi: Inter deserved to qualify|
|Team Sky future unclear as Sky opt to end involvement in cycling|
|PSG had to change mentality - Thiago Silva|
|Rockets make change, pick up win over Trail Blazers|
|Everything´s easier when you´ve got Messi – Miranda|
|From George Cross to Arsenal – Montemurro´s rise to make Gunners great again|
|Koulibaly challenges Napoli to win Europa League|
|Raptors star Leonard out against Clippers, may miss matchup with Warriors|
|Butler opens up about heated Timberwolves practice|
|Spurs achieved ´mission impossible´, says Pochettino|
|Dembele stunner pleases Barca boss Valverde|
|Van Dijk lauds ´fantastic´ Alisson|
|Van Dijk´s tackle on Mertens worthy of red card – Ancelotti|
|Klopp ´would have paid double´ for Alisson|
|Klopp: I don´t care about Madrid revenge mission|
|Tension and anxiety got to Inter, laments Spalletti|
|Tuchel hails magnificent PSG as Red Star win seals last-16 spot|
|Mbappe admits frank discussions inspired PSG´s Champions League progress|
|Klopp: Napoli had no answers to outstanding Liverpool|
|Pochettino proud of ´massive, massive achievement´ for Spurs|
|Barcelona equal Champions League record|
|Composed and controlled Liverpool see off Napoli to progress|
|Tenerife back to winning ways, AEK beat Hapoel|
|Howedes ´hurt´ after emotional Schalke return ends in defeat|
|Kane ´buzzing´ over ´not bad´ draw at Barcelona|
|Robertson hails Alisson´s ´unbelievable´ save as Liverpool progress|
|Red Star Belgrade 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Neymar brilliance helps secure Group C top spot|
|Inter 1 PSV 1: Icardi header not enough for the Nerazzurri|
|Liverpool 1 Napoli 0: Superb Salah sends Reds through|