Antonio Conte's Chelsea future will become clearer in 'next 10 days', says Eidur Gudjohnsen
Last Updated: 20/02/18 9:57am
Chelsea's next three games will go a long way to deciding head coach Antonio Conte's future at Stamford Bridge, according to Eidur Gudjohnsen.
The Premier League champions host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday night, before facing back-to-back Premier League away games at Manchester United and Manchester City.
Those fixtures could be key to Chelsea's season as Conte looks to seal a top-four finish, as well as get the better of Barca over two legs in Europe's premier club competition.
"When you are manager of Chelsea, you are always going to be under pressure," former Chelsea and Barcelona forward Gudjohnsen told The Debate.
"But he is under slightly more pressure than he would like to be because recent results have not been good enough.
"Performances have not been good enough - yes they got the win the other night (against Hull City in the FA Cup) - but these next 10 days will tell us a lot about his future.
"The Chelsea of recent years have set a standard of at least challenging for the Premier League and they are not in the running anymore.
"So the focus goes on to staying in the top four and going as far as you can in the Champions League.
"And with that comes pressure as because you are not sitting too nicely in the Premier League and that makes these Champions League games even bigger."
Gudjohnsen, however, is backing Chelsea to cause an upset against the runaway La Liga leaders, similar to when he helped the club eliminate the Catalans from the competition in the 2004-05 season.
"If you look at the league form, it would have to be Barcelona (as favourites), but I am not convinced because I do not think Barca have come up against a team like Chelsea," he said.
"And I think Chelsea can cause trouble for them, especially the way they play and set up and I think if they use their full-backs well, they can cause problems.
"Barcelona's wide men do leave a lot of space because they do not like tracking back too much.
"And [Lionel] Messi's stats - even though his goals are right up there, his running stats are going the other way, so there might be some space for Chelsea's full-backs to come up the pitch.
"I honestly think this game might suit Chelsea well because it is not a game they have to dominate because they have speed going forward, they have [Eden] Hazard who can create something out of nothing, they have Willian, who feeds off Hazard and they feed very well off each other."