Antonio Conte has identified Andreas Christensen as a future Chelsea captain.
The Danish defender has enjoyed a sensational season for Chelsea, breaking into the side in August and subsequently replacing David Luiz as Conte’s first-choice centre-back.
Despite his impressive form, Christensen was criticised by a number of pundits this week after his mistake cost Chelsea in their Champions League clash with Barcelona.
The 21-year-old’s cross-field pass was intercepted by Andrés Iniesta and he found Lionel Messi, who fired home to provide Barcelona with a crucial away goal.
Conte says he has already put the mistake to the back of his mind, however, and sees ‘wonderful’ Christensen as an obvious future Chelsea captain.
‘Personally I forgot this mistake,’ Conte said. ‘When you are a player, you can make a lot of mistakes in your career.
‘If I had to talk about all the mistakes I made in my career, we’d have to be here for one day. It doesn’t matter.
‘Christensen is having a fantastic season and showing great maturity. For me, apart from the mistake, his performance was great, was wonderful.
‘I have a lot of trust in Christensen. This player is a player for the present for Chelsea, and for Chelsea’s future for 10 or 12 years. ‘He can also become the captain of this team in the future.’
Christensen, who joined Chelsea’s academy at the age of 15, will hope to bounce back when the Blues travel to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Manchester United are currently second in the Premier League but have lost two of their last three fixtures and were held to a goalless draw by Sevilla on Tuesday.
‘You have to start the game with only one target in your mind,’ Conte said, when asked whether he would settle for a point.
‘You need to try to get the win, this is very important for the mentality. If you have a winning mentality you try to reach only one result, to try to win.
‘But we are talking about a fantastic team [United] with fantastic players.’