Barcelona returned to winning ways as substitute Vitor Roque secured a 1-0 home victory over 10-man Osasuna in the LaLiga champions’ first match since Xavi announced he is to stand down as boss.

Roque, the 18-year-old Brazil forward recently signed from Athletico Paranaense, opened his Barca account with a header just past the hour mark, a minute after coming off the bench.

Despite having Unai Garcia sent off four minutes later, Osasuna showed some threat as they sought an equaliser but Barca were able to see out the win.

Xavi’s men bounced back following successive defeats in the Copa del Rey at Athletic Bilbao and Saturday’s 5-3 home loss to Villarreal, after which the former Spain midfielder announced he would be leaving the club this summer.

The Blaugrana cut the gap between them and leaders Girona to eight points and, at least temporarily, moved up a place to third in the table ahead of Atletico Madrid.

Xavi made four changes from the Villarreal game, bringing in Ferran Torres, Pedri, Joao Cancelo and 17-year-old defender Pau Cubarsi.

One of the adjustments was enforced with Joao Felix dropping out after joining Barca’s lengthy list of unavailable players due to an ankle issue sustained in training.

And they were hit with another injury setback only a few minutes into the game as Torres suffered a thigh problem and had to be substituted, with Fermin Lopez coming on.

Robert Lewandowski nodded wide of the Osasuna goal soon after as he met a free-kick from Ilkay Gundogan, whose corner was then headed just over by Jules Kounde in the 35th minute.

The closing stages of the first half saw Lopez shoot too high and Kounde go close with another header.

There was further frustration for the hosts after the break with Lamine Yamal hitting a shot straight at goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez and a Gundogan header going wide before Roque, within seconds of replacing Lopez, connected with Cancelo’s cross to break the deadlock from close range in the 63rd minute.

Osasuna were then reduced to 10 men with Roque involved again, Garcia collecting a second booking having fouled the substitute.

That brought an admirable response from the visitors, with Raul Garcia’s shot hitting the post and Jon Moncayola bringing a good save out of Inaki Pena.

After Lewandowski saw an effort ruled out for offside, Pablo Ibanez then headed wide at the other end as Osasuna’s late push proved in vain.

Sergi Roberto came to Barcelona’s rescue with a brace to finally see off rock-bottom Almeria 3-2 as the LaLiga champions returned to winning ways.

The hosts looked set to stretch their winless run to four games in all competitions after twice being pegged back by opponents still in search of their first league win of the season.

But the 31-year-old latched on to a through-ball from Robert Lewandowski in the 83rd minute to grab the points which take his side back within four points of second-placed Real Madrid.

Xavi’s men were overwhelming favourites as they aimed to shrug off their recent poor run, and they started on top.

Joao Felix floated a free-kick just over the crossbar then Sergi Roberto saw his first chance well saved by busy Almeria goalkeeper Luis Maximiano.

Joao Cancelo was next up with an effort that he drilled straight at the keeper, before Fermin Lopez headed over from Ilkay Gundogan’s pinpoint cross.

Sergi Roberto blasted over from long-range on the half-hour mark before Barca finally made their seemingly inevitable breakthrough three minutes later when Ronald Araujo’s deflected effort fell to Raphinha who fired it into an empty net.

Lewandowski almost doubled Barcelona’s lead before Almeria snatched their chance to level four minutes before the break, Leo Baptistao lofting the ball over advancing Barca keeper Inaki Pena and surviving a VAR check.

Baptistao had a chance to put his side in front before the break but dragged an effort wide and normal service resumed early in the second period with substitute Ferran Torres and Lewandowski both denied.

Sergi Roberto grabbed his opener on the hour when he met Raphinha’s corner with a header at the near post to put Barcelona back in front.

But the lead lasted barely 10 minutes before the hosts were undone by a calamitous error by Pena, who dropped the ball in a collision with Araujo, allowing the alert Edgar Gonzalez to slide it into an empty net.

The hosts responded well, Araujo making up for his part in the equaliser by heading just wide, before Gundogan contrived to somehow miss his chance with the goal at his mercy.

Sergi Roberto finally grabbed what proved to be the decider in the 83rd minute when he ran on to Lewandowski’s ball through the middle to seal three hard-earned points.

Lewandowski almost added a fourth and the captain was denied a hat-trick deep into added time when his effort rattled back off the woodwork.

Barcelona lost further ground at the top of LaLiga as Valencia fought back to draw 1-1 at the Mestalla.

Joao Felix had put Barca ahead early in the second half, but Hugo Guillamon fired the hosts level with 20 minutes left.

The draw left Barca in third, but having played a match more than both Real Madrid and leaders Girona as the pressure continues to increase on manager Xavi.

 

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Valencia, who had lost three of their last four league matches, created an early chance when Roman Yaremchuk spun to fire goalwards, but Barca keeper Inaki Pena made a smart save down to his left.

At the other end, Robert Lewandowski – without a goal in his last three away LaLiga games – had a shot deflected wide, although the ball had gone out of play in the build-up.

Pena was again called into action in the 16th minute as he got down to clear Cristhian Mosquera’s close-range header.

Valencia keeper Giorgi Mamardashvili saved Lewandowski’s drive from the edge of the penalty area in a lively spell.

The Mestalla crowd were soon calling for a penalty when Pepelu went down under a clumsy challenge from behind by Raphinha, but the referee was not interested.

Mamardashvili had to be alert to parry away an acrobatic effort from Lewandowski before Pedri flashed a rising drive over from the edge of the Valencia box.

Valencia winger Fran Perez hit a low ball through the Barcelona six-yard box which just needed a touch to turn it into the net.

Barcelona, beaten 4-2 at home by Girona last weekend, looked to step up the tempo at the start of the second half, with Ilkay Gundogan sending a first-time shot wide before the deadlock was broken in the 55th minute.

Frenkie De Jong chipped a ball down the right for Raphinha, who cut a pass back through the six-yard box for Felix to tap in at the far post.

Tempers threatened to boil over just after the hour mark when Perez flew into a challenge on Gundogan, and was swiftly shown a yellow card.

Mamardashvili produced a fine low reaction save at his near post after Raphinha had pulled the ball back from the goalline to rifle in an angled drive.

Valencia were back on level terms with 20 minutes left.

Guillamon fired a shot into the top-right corner after Barcelona had failed to clear a high ball into the penalty area from Perez, who was ruled onside following a VAR review.

Mamardashvili made another reflex stop when Barca substitute Ferran Torres latched onto an angled ball in from De Jong.

Barcelona pushed for a winner, but Raphinha was denied at the far post by a brilliant block from Yarek Gasiorowski on the line after Mamardashvili had saved the Brazilian’s initial effort.

Joao Felix undid his parent club as a first-half finish from the Portugal international earned Barcelona a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium.

Felix lifted the ball over goalkeeper Jan Oblak in deft fashion in the 28th minute as Xavi’s men replaced Atletico in third in the LaLiga table, with a four-point gap to leaders Real Madrid and second-placed Girona

Sevilla were held 1-1 at home by Villarreal, Hector Bellerin was shown a red card in the 27th minute of Real Betis’ goalless draw at Almeria, and Mallorca and Alaves also drew a blank.

Kylian Mbappe inspired 10-man Paris St Germain to a 2-0 victory over Le Havre to send them four points clear of Nice at the top of Ligue 1.

PSG found themselves down to 10 men after just 10 minutes when goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was sent off for a high challenge on Josue Casimir.

The visitors went in front in the 23rd minute through Mbappe and while the hosts did their best to find an equaliser, Vitinha scored against the run of play in the 89th minute to seal three points.

Goalkeeper Lucas Chevalier saved two penalties as Lille claimed a 2-0 win at home to Metz. The 22-year-old denied Simon Elisor before two goals in first-half stoppage time from Yusuf Yazici and Jonathan David put Lille in control.

More heroics from Chevalier 10 minutes into the second half to keep out Lamine Camara’s penalty helped preserve victory for the home side.

Third-placed Monaco are two points behind Nice following a 2-0 win over 10-man Montpellier, who saw Boubakar Kouyate sent off in the second half, while Brest beat Clermont 3-0 and Toulouse played out a 1-1 draw with Lorient.

Both sides were reduced to 10 as Marseille beat Rennes 2-0 at home, Christopher Wooh being dismissed for the visitors just past the hour mark and Iliman Ndiaye going soon after.

Marseille’s goals came via an early Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty and Azzedine Ounahi effort between the red cards.

Inter Milan moved back above Juventus to the top of Serie A with a 3-0 win at defending champions Napoli, with Hakan Calhanoglu, Nicolo Barella and Marcus Thuram on the scoresheet.

Rasmus Kristensen scored the winner for Roma as they came from behind to beat Sassuolo 2-1.

Matheus Henrique fired in a first-half opener for Sassuolo, but it all came undone after the break when Daniel Boloca was dismissed and Paulo Dybala scored from the spot, before Kristensen fired home a second.

A Lucas Beltran spot-kick and further goals from Riccardo Sottil and Giacomo Bonaventura earned Fiorentina a 3-0 victory over Salernitana, while Udinese and Verona drew 3-3.

Bologna looked poised for victory at Lecce but had to settle for a point after Roberto Piccoli’s penalty in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time cancelled out Charalampos Lykogiannis’ 68th-minute opener.

In the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund were on course to leapfrog fourth-placed Leipzig with a vital victory at leaders Bayer Leverkusen after Julian Ryerson fired the visitors ahead after five minutes, but Victor Boniface salvaged a point when he levelled late in the second half.

Elsewhere, Augsburg beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 and Freiburg won 1-0 at Mainz.

Joao Felix could finally fulfil his potential in Barcelona's possession-based style, says former Atletico Madrid team-mate Hector Herrera.

The Portugal international arrived at Atleti at the age of 19 ahead of the 2019-20 campaign for a club-record fee of €126million (£109m), but never quite lived up to his massive price tag, scoring just 34 goals in 131 games.

He had an unremarkable spell on loan at Chelsea last season, before Barcelona brought him in until the end of the campaign just before the most recent transfer deadline.

Joao Felix will look to come back and haunt his former side this weekend, with his loan agreement stating the forward is allowed to play as Barca host Atleti in LaLiga on Sunday.

While Atleti are happy to allow the opposition to have the majority of the ball, Xavi's Barca are predominantly a possession-first side, with the Blaugrana having 66.72 per cent of the ball in LaLiga this season, significantly higher than the 50.67 per cent Atletico have averaged since the start of the 2019-20 season.

However, the change in tactics has seemingly done little to improve Joao Felix's form, with the 24-year-old averaging 0.12 goals, 0.25 assists and 0.37 big chances created per 90 minutes for Barca, ranking fifth, fourth and fourth respectively among his five LaLiga seasons so far.

Despite those numbers, Herrera feels Joao Felix could still flourish under Xavi, telling Stats Perform: "Beyond having been colleagues, we have a great relationship.

"It seemed that at Atletico he couldn't adapt, but now at Barcelona with a more associative game with the ball, I hope he has success and can stand out as he wants.

"He is a good player and he has a lot of future. He is able to exploit all his potential."

Barcelona booked their passage to the Champions League last 16 for the first time in three seasons as Joao Felix’s second-half goal secured a 2-1 comeback win at home to Porto.

The former Atletico Madrid and Chelsea forward netted just before the hour mark after being set up by Joao Cancelo to seal the win and ensure it would not be a third consecutive group stage exit for Xavi’s side, despite having been given an early scare by the Portuguese side.

It was former Real Madrid stalwart Pepe who scored the goal for Porto that looked like it would set Barca up for a nervous final matchday in two weeks’ time, at 40 years old breaking his own record as the oldest ever goalscorer in the competition.

The lead lasted barely two minutes and it was ex-Manchester City player Cancelo who levelled in spectacular fashion.

Pedri swept a pass out wide to Cancelo advancing down the left but there was plenty still for the Portugal international to do as he carried the ball into the box and unleashed a superb right-footed effort that flew into the far corner.

Felix then got forward after the break to finish from Cancelo’s pass and secure a priceless win.

Shakhtar Donetsk’s earlier victory against Royal Antwerp had meant that Barca and Porto went into their match locked together on nine points with the Ukrainian champions, but Felix’s winner means Xavi’s side can relax in their final match against Antwerp whilst the other two teams play off for the right to join them in the last 16.

Barca earlier announced that teenage midfielder Gavi had undergone a “successful” operation on his torn anterior cruciate ligament, which is expected to rule him out for the rest of the season and the European Championship next summer.

Barcelona boss Xavi insists his side are “ready” for their first away game in the Champions League against Porto on Wednesday.

Barca were victorious in their opening game in the competition after they ran riot with a 5-0 win over Antwerp thanks to goals from Robert Lewandowski, Gavi, Jelle Batille’s own goal and a Joao Felix double.

Xavi’s side will be looking to make it two wins from two with victory at the Estadio do Dragao which would put them in an early comfortable position of qualifying from the group stages, something they failed to do in the competition last year.

Xavi knows the size of the task in front of his team but thinks they are prepared for the challenge.

He told Barca TV: “This is the Champions League. We are ready and excited to play tomorrow.

“We have in front a very difficult club in this stadium. It will be tough and really difficult because they play well, a good team with a good coach, very intensive, but we are ready.

“We are really excited and let’s see tomorrow.”

Felix has enjoyed a bright start to life in Barcelona since making the loan switch from Spanish rivals Atletico Madrid, notching three goals in his first six matches.

The forward will come up against a team from his native Portugal but insists “it is just another game”.

He added: “It may be special because it is a Portuguese side and more family and friends will be in the stands, but this is just another game that we aim to win.

“We want to take the Champions League step by step. Our aim is to get through the group and this is probably the toughest game of the group stage.”

Porto opened their campaign with a 3-1 win against Shakhtar Donetsk and have not faced Barcelona in the Champions League for 23 years.

Boss Sergio Conceicao said: “Let’s go into the game thinking that we can and should win. With confidence. The respect we have for our opponents doesn’t have to make us afraid of anything.

“All teams have weaknesses that can be exploited. We have to be solid in defence and then take advantage of any weaknesses (in Barcelona) to win the game.”

Barcelona have signed Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid.

The Portugal forward has joined Barcelona until June 2024, with no option for a permanent transfer.

“The club wishes to thank the player publicly for the financial effort made and his desire to wear the Barca shirt,” read a Barcelona statement.

“Now, at just 23 years of age, and after expressing his long-held desire to be a blaugrana, Joao Felix has the chance to show the world his talent in a Barca shirt.”

Felix said of his move on the Barcelona Twitter feed: “It was always my dream since I was a kid.”

After breaking through at Benfica, Felix joined Atletico in the summer of 2019 and made more than 100 appearances in three-and-a-half seasons for them.

He spent the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea, scoring four goals in 20 appearances.

Barca later announced the arrival of Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo, also for the duration of the 2023-24 season.

The 29-year-old Portuguese, who has made 154 appearances for City, spent time with Bayern Munich last term.

Barcelona have signed Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid.

The Portugal forward has joined Barcelona until June 2024, with no option for a permanent transfer.

“The club wishes to thank the player publicly for the financial effort made and his desire to wear the Barca shirt,” read a Barcelona statement.

“Now, at just 23 years of age, and after expressing his long-held desire to be a blaugrana, Joao Felix has the chance to show the world his talent in a Barca shirt.”

Felix said of his move on the Barcelona Twitter feed: “It was always my dream since I was a kid.”

After breaking through at Benfica, Felix joined Atletico in the summer of 2019 and made more than 100 appearances in three-and-a-half seasons for them.

He spent the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea, scoring four goals in 20 appearances.

Atletico Madrid will welcome Joao Felix back with open arms if Chelsea decide against pursuing a permanent move for the forward, says club president Enrique Cerezo.

Joao Felix joined Chelsea on loan in January as part of a flurry of mid-season transfer activity at Stamford Bridge.

However, the Portugal international has managed just two goals in 11 Premier League appearances to date, and Frank Lampard has named him on the bench for Chelsea's last two games. 

While Joao Felix endured a strained relationship with Atletico boss Diego Simeone before departing on loan, Los Colchoneros will find a place for him if he returns to the club next season.

Asked about the forward's future, Cerezo told Cadena SER: "You can't anticipate things, everything is yet to be seen. Chelsea are a big team that can count on him. 

"If he comes back, he will be well received, if he returns. Nothing can ever be ruled out in football, you can't take anything for granted."

Atletico are two points behind second-placed Real Madrid in LaLiga after winning six successive league games, but Cerezo does not believe their improved form can be attributed to Joao Felix's exit.

"The circumstances of each team are different," he said. "Joao was under a lot of pressure, he's a star, but here he hasn't had the luck to show it. 

"He's going to be a great player, and not in the very distant future."

Real Madrid are reportedly eager to bolster their full-back options, to upgrade from Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy.

Los Blancos were linked with Manchester City's Joao Cancelo - currently on loan at Bayern Munich - earlier this week by Fichajes.

The Spanish giants are set to miss out on this season's LaLiga title, with Barcelona leading by 10 points.

TOP STORY – MADRID KEEN ON LIVERPOOL'S TAA

Real Madrid will turn to Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold should they fail to land Reece James from Chelsea, claims Ekrem Konur.

Los Blancos are in the market for a new full-back and Konur claims Madrid could also turn to Bayer Leverkusen's Jeremie Frimpong.

Alexander-Arnold has had a mixed campaign for Liverpool, who appear set for a squad revamp in the off-season. The 24-year-old England full-back is contracted with the Reds until 2025.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is an admirer of Torino's 21-year-old midfielder Samuele Ricci with Los Blancos keeping tabs on his situation, according to Tuttosport.

– The Sunday Mirror claims Manchester City are leading the race to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham from Real Madrid , with Liverpool having pulled out.

Chelsea are looking to offer Romelu Lukaku as part of a deal with Atletico Madrid to sign Portuguese forward Joao Felix permanently, reports Fichajes. Chelsea are unwilling to pay Atletico's €100m asking fee, but may part with €70m along with the Belgian forward.

Tottenham are tracking Barcelona winger Ansu Fati, reports Mundo Deportivo. The report suggests Spurs are willing to make him their most expensive transfer in club history.

RB Leipzig are considering a move to sign Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun in the close season, claims Todofichajes. Balogun has impressed this season on loan with Reims .

Chelsea have interviewed Sporting boss Ruben Amorim about taking over as manager next season, reports talkSPORT.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal eased to a 6-0 win away at Luxembourg in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Ronaldo got the ball rolling early on with a tap-in, before further goals from Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva made it 3-0 inside 18 minutes, while Ronaldo added another just after the half-hour mark.

Second-half goals from substitutes Otavio and Rafael Leao completed another routine victory for Portugal after their 4-0 win over Liechtenstein to kick off their qualifying campaign and the rein of new head coach Roberto Martinez.

They sit top of Group J after two games, two points ahead of Slovakia in second after their win against Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Portugal took the lead in the ninth minute when a ball to the far post from Bruno Fernandes was headed back across goal by Nuno Mendes, giving Ronaldo a simple tap-in from close range.

The advantage was doubled just six minutes later, as this time Silva's inswinging ball from the right was nodded across Luxembourg goalkeeper Anthony Moris and into the corner of the net by Joao Felix.

Silva got on the end of a long pass from Joao Palhinha to head in the third, while Ronaldo grabbed his second and Portugal's fourth in the 31st minute when Fernandes played him through on goal, with the Al Nassr striker placing his left-foot shot low to Moris' right.

Portugal had another in the 77th minute when Leao and Otavio combined, with the latter heading home the Milan attacker's cross from the left.

Leao saw a late penalty saved by Moris after winning it himself, but made up for it shortly after when his run inside from the left ended with a composed finish.

Tottenham and Antonio Conte appears set to part ways imminently following the Italian's explosive rant after their 3-3 draw with Southampton on Saturday.

Conte's Spurs contract is due to expire at the end of this season and he has been linked with a return to Italy to be closer to his family.

Spurs have been eliminated from the Champions League and FA Cup but remain firmly in the race to finish in the Premier League's top four, currently sitting fourth but fifth-placed Newcastle United are two points behind with two games in hand.

TOP STORY – SPURS TURN TO EINTRACHT BOSS IN SHOCK MOVE

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is looking to Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Oliver Glasner as a potential replacement for Antonio Conte, according to Bild.

The report claims Spurs have already made contact with the Austrian's representatives about the surprise move.

Glasner is yet to sign an extension on his deal from Frankfurt which expires in 2024. Tottenham have Glasner in their sights, having led the Germans to the Europa League title last season.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United and Newcastle United will battle it out to land the signature of Roma forward Paulo Dybala, reports Calciomercatoweb. The Argentinian is set to be available for a bargain price, given he has a release clause for overseas clubs to sign him for just £10.6million (€12m).

– Relevo claims Chelsea are working behind the scenes to make Joao Felix's loan stay at Stamford Bridge permanent beyond this season. The Portuguese joined the Blues in January on a six-month loan from Atletico Madrid, for whom he penned an extension until 2027 on the eve of that move.

– The Times claims Tottenham will demand £100m upfront for captain and star striker Harry Kane, who is out of contract in 2024. Manchester United have been linked with Kane, while Bayern Munich previously showed an interest, although that has reportedly waned.

Juventus' pursuit of Chelsea's midfielder N'Golo Kante has been dealt a blow, with the Frenchman unlikely to leave Stamford Bridge, reports Tuttomercatoweb.

– Football Transfers claims Arsenal will look to tie down Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard on a long-term deal until 2030. His deal expires in 2025.

Arsenal are interested in Salzburg's 22-year-old forward Noah Okafor, claims The Daily Mail. Tottenham and Milan are also keen on the Swiss talent.

Joao Felix hinted that a long-term future with Chelsea hinges on whether Champions League football is secured for next season.

The Portugal international arrived on loan from Atletico Madrid in a flurry of mid-season activity for the Blues.

However, Saturday's victory over Leeds United in the Premier League was only Chelsea's second from 12 matches in 2023 and their first since beating Crystal Palace in January, ending a run of six games without a win (D3 L3).

Graham Potter's side are well adrift in the hunt for a top-four finish and Champions League football next term as a result, sitting 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.

While Joao Felix expressed his happiness at Stamford Bridge, he suggested a permanent move depends on whether they can turn their season around.

"In terms of if I want to stay or not, I think the future, no-one knows. Now I am just focused on tomorrow's game," he said at a press conference previewing Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg against Borussia Dortmund.

"After that, we don't know what will happen. But I am happy here. The club is so big, it is amazing, everyone behind the club is so good so yes I am happy to be here.

"Playing Champions League is always different. It is the competition that everyone wants to play.

"But now I am focused on this Champions League, tomorrow's game. We have a lot of games yet to try to reach the Champions League in the league. It is not over.

"Playing Champions League, it is [an] important decision. But the future, no one knows so let's see what happens."

Although Chelsea's form remains a concern, Joao Felix believes it does not affect the task at hand heading into the return fixture against Dortmund despite them trailing 1-0 from the first leg.

"[There is] zero pressure. This is our job. We just have to enjoy, win the games," he added.

"Our levels of confidence and attention are high because we have to win. But we will enjoy. If we do the things right, we will win."

Graham Potter knows Chelsea's Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund can be "a special night" after they finally returned to winning ways.

The Blues will welcome the Bundesliga side to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday for the second leg of their last-16 tie as they look to overturn a one-goal deficit.

Chelsea head into the match on the back of a first win in seven games after a 1-0 victory over Leeds United on Saturday, handing them a much-needed boost to their flagging season.

Potter, who has been in need of positive results to ease the pressure on his position, is looking forward to the chance to back it up with success in Europe.

"I agree it's a big game, an exciting game," he said. "[It is] a chance to go through to the last eight of the Champions League. It'll be a special night.

"Our thoughts are on being positive and trying to win the game. It's a good challenge for us, a big challenge for us. We're excited for it and looking forward to it."

Having lost the first leg in Dortmund 1-0 thanks to a Karim Adeyemi goal, Chelsea are prepared for another close-quarters scrap in London this week.

Potter further revealed Kai Havertz would be the team's designated penalty taker in the absence of Jorginho, but otherwise delivered mixed team news.

"Reece [James], we'll make a decision on tomorrow," he added. "Christian Pulisic is in the squad, but it is too soon for N'Golo [Kante] but he's looking good [to return soon].

"It's a complex one because he has had a long time out. It'll be a case of how we get him back up to speed to play Premier League or Champions League football."

One player Potter was questioned on was Atletico Madrid loanee Joao Felix, who has made a slow start to his Chelsea career.

But the Portuguese's star power and potential remains enough for his boss, who added: "His quality is clear. He makes things happen from an attacking perspective.

"[He] has hit the bar twice and had other chances. The fact he can play in many positions is good. We've used him more centrally, but he can play anywhere in the attacking phase of the game."

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