ANTONO CONTE claims Cesc Fabregas is a fantasy player who can help make Chelsea’s dreams come true.
But he still won’t guarantee the midfielder a starting spot against Stoke today as the Blues aim to take another step towards the Double.
Fabregas has started just 18 league games this season but has the best assists-per-minute and chances created-per-minute rates in the whole of the Premier League.
Conte said: “For sure, Cesc gives you great quality, great fantasy and assists. He has always had a great impact, whether he starts a game or comes on.
“He always has a great impact. He’s technically very good, and can put the ball where he wants. He’s a great player.
“Often he’s decisive with the pass, with the assist, and also to score a goal.”
‘Cesc, this season, is showing he’s a great player but above all a great professional, and I’m very pleased to see his commitment and work-rate.
Fabregas has scored three goals this season, only two less than he scored last season when he started 37 games.
He also has seven assists. No other Chelsea player has more, with only Pedro matching him.
Yet Conte insists he picks his team depending on the opponent, and hinted that Nemanja Matic could start in the Spaniard’s place today.
He said: “I have all my players top of their form, for sure it’s not easy for me to make the best decisions. In this case it’s important to manage the situation and see game by game.
“If, for example, we have to face a physical team who are very strong in set-plays, you must consider a lot of situations before making the right choice.
“Above all at this point of the season, it’s important to manage very well the situation and understand when it’s right, for example, to play with Cesc or with Matic.
“They are two great players with different characteristics. Nema is more physical, more technical, less fantasy than Cesc. Cesc has more fantasy but is less physical than Nema.”
Conte also suggested Gareth Southgate made a wise move by deciding to drop Wayne Rooney and rotate the England captaincy – because it could help motivate his players.
The former Italy boss said: “It’s a different situation if you compare this with the past, when you have always the same captain.
“But this situation can give more motivation to the players, and also to permit many players to say, when they finish their career, ‘I was the captain of England.’ It’s a great honour.”