Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has insisted that he will not bow to pressure over reputations of players when making selections, but did praise Cesc Fabregas.
The Spaniard has struggled for playing time so far this season, but scored twice in Chelsea’s dramatic 4-2 win over Leicester City in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night.
Naturally, his display should boost his chances of becoming a first-team regular for Conte, but the Italian tactician has reiterated that he will continue to make the best decisions for the team and that means certain players will face disappointment.
“I want to win and my choice is done to win,” he told the media after the game. “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 lineup.”
Fabregas has yet to start in the Premier League this season, with Nemanja Matic, N’Golo Kante and Oscar all preferred ahead of him by Conte in the Chelsea midfield.
However, with a date with his former club coming up this weekend, it remains to be seen whether or not his performance at Leicester is enough to see him promoted to the starting XI and stake his claim for a bigger role in the weeks and months ahead.
Fabregas was a pivotal figure in Chelsea’s title-winning campaign two years ago, but along with other high-profile individuals, he struggled badly last year.
With a return to goal-scoring form in midweek, the former Barcelona ace will hope that it’s just the start of things to come.