Sunday 17 December 2017

'Hopefully this will shut up a few journalists who are talking rubbish' - Cesc Fabrgas hits back at critics

Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas (left) celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal
Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas (left) celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal newsdesk

Chelsea midfielder took aim at his critics following his two-goal salvo that earned his side a place in the fourth round of the EFL Cup at the expense of Premier League champions Leicester City.

The Spaniard scored twice in extra time as Antonio Conte's men ran out 4-2 winners and told Sky Sports afterwards: ""I was happy to play from the start, first of all. Secondly if I can help the team, fantastic.

"Hopefully this will shut [up] a few journalists who are talking rubbish all the time. I'm focused on what is important: Chelsea winning, playing well and when I have the chance, showing what I can do. I know what I can do and it's a lot for this team."

Chelsea boss Conte praised Fabregas but insisted reputations mean nothing after their comeback victory at Leicester.

Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta cancelled out Shinji Okazaki's brace in normal time before Leicester defender Marcin Wasilewski was sent off for a second booking in the 89th minute.

Fabregas is yet to start in the Premier League under Conte, with his only other start in the EFL Cup win over Bristol City last month, with Nemanja Matic, N'Golo Kante and Oscar preferred.

But a gritty display from the 29-year-old - ahead of Saturday's visit to former club Arsenal - impressed Conte, although he offered no assurances he would start at the Emirates Stadium.

He said: "I want to win and my choice is done to win. I don't care what their name is. For me it's important when I call someone to play and they show me my choice is not wrong.

"All the players in my squad are a possibility to play against Arsenal. There are three days before the game and they have the opportunity to convince me to put them in.

"I am pleased for Cesc because he played a good game, he showed me great commitment in the training sessions. I am satisfied when I see this behaviour. This is the right way and I want my players to create good competition and, game by game, give me the opportunity to choose the best line-up."

Gary Cahill scores Chelsea's opening goal. Photo: Getty
Gary Cahill scores Chelsea's opening goal. Photo: Getty

Chelsea were poor defensively as both Cahill and David Luiz struggled, but the visitors deserved victory after Diego Costa was introduced as a second-half substitute.

The striker should have scored in normal time but curled wide and was involved in the build-up to Fabregas' first as well as being fouled by Wasilewski, who collected his second yellow.

Conte added: "This is a typical English game because after 30 minutes you are 2-0 down and then you have a good reaction to score four goals. If you ask me if I am happy for the two goals conceded, I am not happy, but I saw a good reaction from all of my players.

"This is very important because it showed the will to win and to go into the next round. It wasn't easy after 2-0 and after a defeat in the last game in the Premier League (2-1 to Liverpool)."

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri, who made seven changes, was philosophical about the defeat, acknowledging Cahill's goal just before half-time changed the game.

Shinji Okazaki celebrates scoring his first of two goals. Photo: Getty
Shinji Okazaki celebrates scoring his first of two goals. Photo: Getty

"I am happy with our performance until 2-0," the former Chelsea manager said. "We started very well and we were in control of the match. Chelsea had more possession but we were very smart and clever to score twice.

"I think the key was when we conceded a goal on the last corner of the half, we lost two dangerous men, Luiz and Cahill.

"In extra time I said stay together and close the space, but Fabregas scored and it was very difficult for us."

Additional reporting by PA

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