Fabregas better than ever at Chelsea, says Conte

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Antonio Conte says Cesc Fabregas has improved as a player in
recent weeks, despite the midfielder being in and out of the
Chelsea first team this season. 

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Fabregas came off the bench against Manchester United in
a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, despite having started
the previous three, as Nemanja Matic stepped back in to partner
N’Golo Kante. 

However, the Spaniard is still providing more assists per
minute than any other player in the Premier League and Conte is
aware of what a weapon an “improved” Fabregas will be in
the final months of the season. 

“This season he faced a new situation. Cesc, in the past, has
always played every single game,” he said at a news
conference at Cobham Training Centre. “It’s not easy to
change. But, for sure, Cesc showed me that he is not only a
great player but a great person.

Cesc Fabregas Antonio Conte Chelsea Hull

“I think, this season, he has improved a lot in all aspects
and, for me, he is a really, really important player. Cesc
gives you great quality, great fantasy and assists. Yeah, but
it’s important for me, above all at this point of the season,
to manage very well the situation.

“Understand when it’s right, for example, to play with Cesc or
with Matic. We are talking about two great players, for sure
with different characteristics. Nema is more physical, more
technical, less fantasy than Cesc. Cesc has more fantasy but is
less physical than Nemanja.”

Conte has faced few injuries during his time in charge of
Chelsea and he has lacked the fixture congestion that European
competition causes – which has led to some players in his squad
getting very few minutes. 

Chelsea chose to play their strongest side against Manchester
United, which meant that younger players who had played in the
FA Cup previously didn’t get a game. Conte thinks that his less
experienced players will still develop in his squad of
superstars but he also wants them to keep pushing for a
start. 

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John Terry and Kurt Zouma

“I think, first of all, for the young players to train with
this type of player – Fabregas, Willian, Hazard, Costa, John
Terry – is great,” He continued. “You learn every day what
it means to be a champion. It’s important to stay with this
type of player and to learn.

“But also, for me, they are not young players. For me, they are
Chelsea players. Chelsea’s players. I try to improve all my
players in the same way: I work in the same way with the young
and old players, and I put great attention in it for them every
day. That is normal for me.

“They must have this ambition to play in the first-team. It’s
normal, this. I want to see this, this ambition. That they want
to show me they deserve to play with the first-team. You must
be sure, though, if someone deserves to play that they do
play.”

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