December 4, 2017

Conte: Cesc Changed My Mind  (Sky Sports)

Cesc FabregasChelsea boss Antonio Conte has revealed Cesc Fabregas successfully changed his mind about including the Spaniard in his plans.

Fabregas initially struggled following Conte's arrival at Stamford Bridge, and at this point last season he had only started four games - two of those coming in the early rounds of the League Cup.

But he was able to earn the trust of the former Italy boss with his improved performances in the second half of last season, helping guide Chelsea to the Premier League title, and is now a regular under Conte having started 18 games so far this season.

"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.

The former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder is newly 30 and his boss thinks he has many more years at the highest level if he continues to demonstrate the same desire.

"He is young and when you are 30 years old you have at least five years to play football. And to play at this level you must play with great desire because playing at this level is not simple and you have a lot of competition," he added.

"Cesc has great ambition and he is a winner with his mentality, it is for this reason he is very strong."

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