Antonio Conte has admitted that he was initially not convinced of the ability of Cesc Fabregas to fit into his Chelsea side, although the talented midfielder has completely changed his mind and is now an integral part of the Italian coaches team.
Speaking in an interview featured on Sky Sports, Conte said:
“I think Cesc at the start of the last season did not play a lot, but I was very happy because through work he tried to change my mind and it happened,” Conte told reporters ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid.
“If you remember the second part of last season he started to play with regularity. The first part of the season I decided to play almost every game with (N’Golo) Kante and (Nemanja) Matic but in the second part of the season I think Cesc played a lot of the games.
“I think he was very important for us to win the title last season. In this season he has continued to work very hard and he’s shown me great commitment, great behaviours.
“I think that the coach has to make the best decision for the team, I tried to make the best decision, in this season he is playing with regularity, he is performing well and I hope in the future to continue in this way.”
Fabregas’ impact on Chelsea’s title winning campaign was crucial last season, and when you consider the fact he provided an amazing 12 assists in just 13 starts, it’s easy to see how he won his manager around.
The talented 30-year-old is now just one game short of matching his total starts from last season, as we enter December, and although it is true that his lack of mobility can cause him to struggle when played in a midfield two, if he is given the protection of playing with two other central midfield partners, there are few better play makers in world football.
Fabregas has produced some passing masterclasses for Chelsea in the early stages of this campaign, and sits behind only Ryan Giggs in the list of all-time assist providers in Premier League history with 109.
If Conte’s side are to have another successful season this term their mercurial Spaniard will undoubtedly have a major role to play.