Antonio Conte: How Cesc Fabregas changed Chelsea manager's mind

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi does not want Chelsea to sign Sergi Roberto

GETTY Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi does not want Chelsea to sign Sergi Roberto

Fabregas - with 12 starts under his belt already this season - went on to prove Conte wrong last season by breaking his way into the team and becoming an integral part of the team that chased double honours. Ahead of yesterday's final Champions League group match against Atletico Madrid, Fabregas has played more than any other Chelsea midfielder this season in terms of minutes on the pitch.

Lampard told TalkSport: 'Manchester United are still there, and I think Chelsea will be the other main challengers. "I understand his philosophy and must say I am very proud of this, also very happy I am where I want to be and that's all down to belief and trust and hard work".

"You must have great desire and great will to play at this level".

"We'll try our best to be consistent enough to reach the final and hopefully win".

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'I'm 30 but you never stop learning in football and that's what I'm doing. I'm very young. I really mean it.

Defending champions Chelsea have recently got into the groove as well, having dropped only two points in their last seven league outings, but will see the gap between themselves and City restored to 11 points if City beat the Hammers as expected.

Atletico, twice runners-up in the last four years, must win at Stamford Bridge and hope Roma drop points against Qarabag to avoid an early exit.

"The coach has to make the best decision for the team, because the coach wants to win in the same way as the players and fans do".

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However, Fabregas has stepped into the breach following Nemanja Matic's summer departure for Manchester United, and he says good old fashioned hard work is behind him earning Conte's trust. When the moment comes to talk I'll be here, ready for it'.

Conte believes Fabregas has plenty of years remaining at the top.

"When you are 30 years old you have at least five more years". 'He's a victor in his mind.

"If the whole team after (Tuesday's) game has to play Europa League, it can happen".

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