Fabregas talks up doing the dirty work at Chelsea
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas is putting in the hard yards to win over Antonio Conte and feels he deserves more credit for doing so.
Cesc Fabregas believes his career-long reputation as a playmaker means improvements to his game under Antonio Conte at Chelsea have gone unnoticed.
Former Arsenal and Barcelona star Fabregas has often found himself on the bench at Stamford Bridge this season – the odd man out as Antonio Conte's 3-4-3 formation has underpinned Chelsea's surge into a 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Unlike fellow creative midfielder Oscar, Fabregas has stuck around to make his case to the Italian and started each of the Blues' last two top-flight games – scoring and providing an assist in the 3-1 win over Swansea City.
The 29-year-old reverted to a substitute role as the more robust talent of Nemanja Matic rejoined N'Golo Kante in central midfield for the 1-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United, leaving Conte with a decision to ponder for Saturday's trip to Stoke City.
Asked whether he felt he was getting to grips with Conte's system, Fabregas told the Times of India: "I do. I am improving all the time. People forget that earlier in the season it was only the second time in my life, in my whole career, that I played this system.
"But the more you play the more you get used to it and the more comfortable you feel. I'm really enjoying it and I think it suits me a lot.
"I make assists and sometimes score goals. I complete the most passes in a game, people see me this way. They don't see the other part that, actually, I have improved a lot.
"Unfortunately football these days is based on your reputation. For instance, now N'Golo is becoming famous for chasing and making tackles, but he does other things well too.
"But because this is his reputation people just look into this and they don't look to see if he does something else."
Fabregas hopes for a prolonged run in Conte's first XI as his time as a squad player has done nothing to endear him to the role.
"Of course it's tough," he added. "I'm not going to deny I want to play every single minute.
"It's what I work for but the coach chooses the 11 he thinks is best suited to win the game. And that's it.
"Wherever I am I will support the team. Inside, outside and when my time comes I will try to perform as I have been doing over the last few weeks."