Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has heaped praise on midfielder Cesc Fabregas’ ability to work his way back into his plans following a difficult start to life under the Italian.
At the beginning of last season, Fabregas found playing time difficult to come by but has so far made 12 Premier League starts this campaign.
And in the lead up to his side’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid, Conte reserved special praise for the Spain international.
“Cesc at the start of last season didn’t play a lot, but I was very happy because through the work he tried to change my mind and it happened,” he told a press conference.
“If you remember the second part of last season he started to play with regularity and first part of last season I played almost every game with [N’Golo] Kante and [Nemanja] Matic.
“But in the second part of the season Cesc played a lot of games, and he was very important for us to win the title.
“This season he has continued to work very hard, showed me great commitment and behaviour and the coach has to make the best decision.”
Despite Fabregas now being aged 30, Conte believes he still has plenty to offer.
“He is still young for sure. When you are 30 years old you have at least five more years to play football,” he said.
“At this level you must have great desire and great will to play at this level because it is not simple.
“There is a lot of competition with other players but Cesc has great ambition. He’s a winner in his mind, in his mentality. For this reason he is very strong.”