Cesc Fabregas talks Nemanja Matic, Jose Mourinho and the adaptions required to compete in the Champions League…
Jose Mourinho confirmed in his pre-match press conference yesterday that Nemanja Matic would be back in the side for tonight’s Champions League decider with PSG after two games out suspended. The Serbian has also overcome a small ankle injury sustained in the on-pitch Capital One Cup final celebrations.
To his regular central midfield partner Cesc Fabregas, that is excellent news. He considered what Matic brings to the middle of our park.
‘He is a top player,’ stressed Fabregas. ‘He is having a fantastic season.
‘Obviously we need the best out of everybody against PSG but we do definitely need the best out of him because he is the one that gives the balance to the team offensively and defensively.
‘He is a key player for us and it’s good that he recovered well and he can be on top of his game. Midfielders have to attack and defend and when he plays he gives us this ability to control games offensively and defensively very well.’
When Fabregas signed for Chelsea back in June, Mourinho had in mind the central pairing of him and Matic that has served us so well this season. Work on that partnership started immediately during our European training camp in Austria and Holland.
The manager has been delighted with Fabregas’s contribution ever since, recognising in his pre-match media conference yesterday that ‘he has changed the profile of our team since his arrival’.
Reflecting on the seven or so months that he has now been a Chelsea player, Fabregas detailed what it has been like playing under Mourinho.
‘Working with Jose has been really good so far, but I expected that. I knew he was a big manager and a great personality.
‘I knew coming to Chelsea as the big club they are and as the big manager he is I would learn a lot, and that is what I am doing.
‘He has put me back in the position that probably I have enjoyed most in my career. I am happy. I am helping the team. Hopefully we can keep growing up as a team with him as a manager because he is hopefully the one that will take us to the next level to win this competition and many more for Chelsea.’
Fabregas is of course referencing the Champions League and it is in Europe’s showpiece tournament that our next test awaits.
PSG are the visitors to Stamford Bridge tonight and with the tie balanced at 1-1 after the first leg in Paris, Fabregas analysed the balance required between playing your normal game and adapting it to ensure you progress on the night.
‘You have to know what your game is, what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are,’ he said. ‘You have to compliment yourself very well.
‘You have to know who you’re playing against and we know that very well. All the coaches make sure that when we go on to the pitch we know everything about our opponents.
‘I agree that this is a competition that sometimes you don’t have to play well to go through, but I believe this Chelsea side is playing very, very well this season. We want to maintain that.
‘They will come at us sometimes, they will have possession, and when this happens we will have to stay compact and defend well like we have all season.
‘We will not sit back and wait for a result because this is a dangerous route to take. We will just take the game by our hand, get on the ball and create opportunities to score.’