Conte didn’t want Fabregas ‘at all’ but Chelsea icon proved him wrong

Former Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas has revealed how Antonio Conte did not want him while he was in charge at Stamford Bridge – but he forced his way into Blues team anyway.

Conte took over in west London in 2016 after a turbulent campaign where the Blues finished 10th in the Premier League. But in just his first season in charge, the Italian coach led Chelsea to the title in a miracle season.

Speaking on BT Sport, Spain international Fabregas said: "Well at the beginning he didn’t want me at all. I had to work my socks off. I had to prove him wrong, I had to put my head down and work and at the end of the day.

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"I cannot lose my belief and the way I play because this is who I am. I think he understood at the end that I’m a Pirlo-type of player that he had at Juventus.

"I’m not a [N'Golo] Kante or [Nemanja] Matic and fair play to him, he understood that and reversed the situation and after six months, I started playing games. Very, very smart guy."

Conte led the way by implementing a system with three centre-backs, a formation that has been widely applied to many teams in the top flight ever since. However, it requires the central midfielders to be extremely regimented.

Fabregas, who oozes class and possesses incredible vision, does not fit into kind of midfielder that Conte likes. The former Juventus manager had N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, who suited the Italian's robust style.

After initially struggling, Fabregas ended up scoring seven times in all competitions – his most for Chelsea in a single season. As well as winning the Premier League that season, the playmaker outlasted Conte and went on to lift the Europa League in 2019 against former club Arsenal.


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