Fabregas: We know what we can do

As he prepares to face former club Barcelona in the Champions League, Cesc Fabregas says the Blues will need to work together as a team, at both ends of the pitch, in order to ensure we head into the return in a good position.

The first leg of our last-16 tie against the La Liga leaders takes place at Stamford Bridge this evening, the first competitive meeting between the sides since we famously fought back from 2-0 down at the Camp Nou to progress to the final in 2012.

Fabregas started both legs of that particular fixture for Barcelona, but having moved to Chelsea two years later, he will be doing everything in his power to help Antonio Conte’s side get the better of his former employers tonight.

These huge European nights are what it’s all about and having missed out on competing in last season’s Champions League, Fabregas believes we are back where we belong.

‘It was the first time in my career that I hadn’t taken part in the Champions League,’ he said. ‘It was weird for me to watch the games and not be there. Having free days, watching the competition, the Champions League, and not being involved was very strange for me, in all honesty.

‘Above all, I think you feel a healthy envy, thinking, “I’d like to be where these other teams are playing”, because ultimately I believe that’s where a club like Chelsea belongs.

‘But we won the Premier League last season to qualify and this year we’ve once again enjoyed being in the Champions League.’

Fabregas made his 100th Champions League appearance when he played for the Blues against Roma in October, and the midfielder spoke about what he believes it will take for him to add a winners’ medal to what is already a hugely impressive trophy haul.

‘I feel a certain pride, because it means that you’ve played for many years at the highest level and that you’ve stayed there, because in the end that’s the most difficult thing,’ he said.

‘Playing at big teams for so many years, especially being so young still, at 30 years of age, means that you have done very well, that you’ve been very consistent across many games and over many years.

‘I feel the same about the Champions League, all I want now is to win it obviously, because I have already played in four semi-finals and one final.

'It takes a lot of factors to win the trophy, a little bit of luck too. Let's see what happens in the future.’

The midfielder has started, and performed well, in our past two matches, 3-0 and 4-0 victories over West Bromwich Albion and Hull City respectively, and he produced a stunning first-time pass for Pedro to score our second goal in Friday’s FA Cup win.

In terms of tonight’s game, though, what type of challenge does he expect Barcelona to present?

‘Well, they are a fantastic team, with the best player in the history of this sport, so it will obviously be a really tough challenge for us, mainly because they have top players, but Leo [Messi] makes the difference, the big difference,’ Fabregas explained.

‘We know what we can do and we know how we can play, we’ll have a plan and try to do the best we can. This is football, that’s why it’s a fantastic sport, anything can happen at any time and we’ll try to expose their weaknesses and win.

‘The style of football that we play is very much our brand and it’s all about the collective, both in terms of attack and defence.

‘We know exactly what our game is all about and always go into matches with a plan. Apart from that, it’s a case of analysing the opposition, which isn’t easy, because they’ve got some great players right throughout their team, and the idea will be to try and stop them in the areas where they’re the most dangerous.’

- There will be more from Cesc Fabregas on UEFA.TV on Friday. He also features in the video below

BARCELONA PREVIEW: Fabregas, Pedro, Busquets and Iniesta look ahead to tonight's huge game against Barcelona.