Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has come out in defence of midfielder Cesc Fabragas after the Spaniard came in for criticism following a dip in performance in recent weeks.

The former Arsenal skipper started life in blistering fashion at Stamford Bridge recording 15 assists in his first 21 Premier League appearances this season and was shoo-in to beat Thierry Henry's record of 20 assists in a Premier League season.

But the Blues star's performance dipped in recent months and he has recorded just one assist in his last 13 outings for his club, which has prompted criticism from various quarters.

However, the Portuguese manager has come out to defend his midfielder and insists that Fabregas plays a very important role for the team despite his lack of assists.

"When some people write that Fabregas has dropped his level because the number of assists are not the same, the number of assists are probably not the same because the player that he assists doesn't score," Mourinho said, as quoted by Goal.

"I think he's playing wonderfully well for us. I've never had doubts about his importance for us in the team," the former Real Madrid boss added.

The Chelsea manager went on to explain the reason for Nemanja Matic's drop in form and believes that the suspension and injuries hampered his continuity, which led to the midfielder coming off the boil in recent weeks.

"As for Matic, he was suspended, and after the suspension he was injured celebrating in the Capital One Cup final. So he went back and he was not in the best condition," the Portuguese added.

"He was out for two or three weeks so it takes time but I always think stability is very important in a team, and it's not in April you are going to make important changes," Mourinho concluded.