Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas has defended himself from critics who claim he is failing to replicate his impressive start to life at Stamford Bridge during the second part of the campaign.

The Spain international provided 11 assists for the Blues in his first 15 Premier League games following his £27m ($40m) arrival from Barcelona in the summer of 2014.

Even though he still tops the Premier League assists table, having laid on 15 goals for his team, the former Arsenal midfielder has lately struggled to add further assists to his tally.

Fabregas has registered just one assist in his last 10 matches, during the League Cup final victory over Tottenham Hotspur, while his last one in the Premier League came in the 5-0 victory over Swansea on 17 January.

Having had a history of fading in the second half of the season during his time at Barcelona, some fans questioned his poor performance on social networks after the 1-1 draw against Southampton on 15 March while there were even some whistles of frustration at Stamford Bridge.

But when asked about the assists drying up, Fabregas said to Standard Sport: "It doesn't matter. I don't even know if it's been eight games, five or 10, there are so many more aspects."

"I don't expect from midfield, from nearly getting the ball off John Terry, to get an assist per game. If I was playing next to Diego Costa, Didier Drogba and Eden Hazard every game, then I'd say maybe [I could do that].

"But for me, now, it's about making the team play, making the team click, passing the ball to Hazard, to Oscar, Willian and Juan Cuadrado, all these players. I try to make the team move forward and make runs when I can.

The Spaniard used to play as a number 10 and even as a false nine during his spell at the Camp Nou. However, manager Jose Mourinho has often deployed him in the middle of the park alongside Nemanja Matic in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

"The position I play is where you have to be more of a complete midfielder, you have to defend well, attack, control midfield, you have to pass well, you have to know when to go forward and control the tempo of the game. It's more difficult, but I enjoy it more," he said.

"If I was playing regularly as a number 10, I'd say judge me on my assists. But in a midfield pivot like we play at Chelsea, where I'm much more behind the strikers — I'm 10m behind the number 10 and 20m behind the striker — of course I'm not going to get in the same position as many times as when you're number 10. It's more difficult to get assists.

"That's why the number of assists I have is a little more impressive. But I'm happy in the position I'm playing and, hopefully, I can learn a lot more from Jose Mourinho."

The Spaniard has claimed a number of times that he felt more comfortable in a deeper role but says he also needs time to adapt to the position as he had not played there since his early days at Arsenal.

He said: "This season I'm going back to where I started. Between 16 to 20, I played in the role I am now, but since 20 till 27, I was playing number 10 and sometimes as a striker. It's like I'm going back to where everything started, which is midfield, where I can conduct the team from the bottom of the pitch to the attacker.

"It doesn't matter to me if I assist five games in a row or don't because what I see from myself right now, when I watch videos of games, is I contribute much more in the build-up play, in all of the areas, which I was not doing in the past few years.

"That's where I see I'm improving, especially in defence, getting in the right position, staying more disciplined."