Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas hopes his match-winning performance against Leicester City in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night (20 September) will silence the critics. The 29-year-old Spaniard has been reduced to a bit-part player at Stamford Bridge since the arrival of new boss Antonio Conte over the summer – but scored a brace at the King Power Stadium as Chelsea ran out 4-2 winners after extra-time.
The midfielder was repeatedly linked with a move away from West London during the summer transfer window. However, Fabregas believes his match-shaping display against the Foxes will prove to the doubters that he remains a top-class player.
"I was happy to play first of all from the start, and secondly if I can help the team then fantastic," Fabregas told Sky Sports after Chelsea's dramatic win. "Hopefully this will shut up a few journalists, a few dailies, a few whatever, who are talking rubbish all the time, and focus on what's important: Chelsea winning.
"I'm focusing on playing well and when I have the chance I'll show what I can do, because I know what I can do and it's a lot for this team."
Chelsea fell 2-0 behind to the current Premier League champions at the King Power, before they bounced back in style. Fabregas – who has been primarily used as a substitute by Conte this season – said their extra-time comeback spoke volumes for the spirit of the Chelsea team.
"I think we played quite well, to be honest," Fabregas said. "We know they are a dangerous team on the counter, which is what they did, but I think we showed great character, as I think we've been showing during the whole season."
Fabregas' performance impressed Conte, with the Italian singling out the midfielder for special praise after the match. "Cesc is an intelligent player, a clever player and he sees the game, he feels the situation," the Chelsea boss said. "I'm pleased for him, because in the games when he didn't start in the line-up he always had a great attitude."