Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Fabregas: It feels great to be champions

Fabregas: It feels great to be champions


Champions Chelsea will be focusing hard to win the Champions League next season according to Cesc Fabregas who also revealed he won’t be looking forward to facing his former side Arsenal in the FA Cup final at the end of the month. Having secured the title by winning 1-0 at WBA on Friday, the Blues celebrated last night beating Watford in a seven-goal thriller 4-3.

Chelsea face relegated Sunderland on Sunday in the final league game of the season where departing John Terry and Gary Cahill, his able deputy, will take possession of the trophy and they and the players will receive their medals. Fabregas, 30, could not contain his delight at winning the league for the second time in three years.

“It feels great,” he said. “There’s something about winning this trophy from the other ones that I was very lucky to win at Barcelona, probably the biggest things in football, but winning the Premier League trophy is something special, it gives you a special feeling.

“Having played in Spain, watching a lot of football as I do, Germany, France and Italy. This is the best league in the world. Maybe not the best players in the world, but it’s the most competitive and most difficult league to win, for sure.

“Anyone can beat you. That’s the thing. I’ve played in Spain, there was many games where you had to do really, really bad to drop points.

“Here, every game is tough and that’s why next year with the Champions League as well we will have to be at the top of our game to compete again for the Premier League. So will the Blues challenge for the big cup next season?

“We definitely feel we can do something in the Champions League,” said the Spain midfielder. It will be a big target for us. The English teams are struggling. You will see that six teams can win the league easily. Any of them can do it.

“Then some of them will play Europa League, Champions League. Then on top of that you have the League Cup. The FA Cup. Other leagues don’t have these extra games, extra trophies and extra difficult games.

“You go to Burnley and it’s difficult. In Spain, you go to other places, relegation teams and it’s not as difficult. It will be very tough to compete but we feel we can be strong next season, not just in the Premier League but the Champions League as well.”

To do that Fabregas expects new faces at SW6. “I am sure we will strengthen our team. We’ve won. But that doesn’t mean that the team cannot get better.

“Every team, even if they win, they will try to improve and I’m sure that Chelsea will try to do that.”

So what has Antonio Conte done to turn a team who finished 10th last season into champions? “He has made a big impact, a good influence. He is a winner,” said Fabregas. “He has made such a good impact. When he sees something not going well, he tries to change it, sometimes at the beginning we saw many changes, maybe some of us are not used to it. But we know now exactly what he wants from us. We also had a lot of time in between weeks to prepare well, to train well and maybe next season we won’t have as much time.

“But at least this season has prepared us well for what will happen next season.”

Fabregas was out of the side early in the season but has had a serious impact in the second half. Does he feel the same? “Probably. Probably, to be honest. I feel in great shape,” he said.

“I have been feeling like that since early December, let’s say. But at the beginning it was frustrating and if you don’t get into the team then you don’t really know what’s happening or what will happen. “But through hard work and belief, I made it happen. I’ve worked hard to get back into the team and I feel I’m getting the rewards now and have made it happen.”

With Sunderland out of the way next week, it’s all steam ahead for the FA Cup final against Arsenal on May 27. “Yes, it will be emotional,” he confessed. “It’s not as if I like to play against Arsenal because they are a club which is in my heart and they will always be.

“But this is football and this is what we have to do, it can happen and hopefully we can win the double.

“That would be a fantastic season for Chelsea and for us. I have to put those feelings aside. You have to be professional. Of course it means a lot to me, it’s not an ordinary game for me.

“It will be a tough game. I watch Arsenal, they are playing well, they are playing a different system and maybe they are not performing fantastic in this system.

“But they are defensively better. They are winning and that’s important for them. Their belief is higher.

“But our belief is high, hopefully we can hurt them in the way we want.”

What would winning the league and FA Cup double mean? “Imagine that. It would be fantastic,” he said.

“It would be fantastic for the players. It would be fantastic for the manager. To do it in the first season after the problems we faced.

“We started with a system, then we changed, it started well, then it didn’t go well. Then we had to adapt to another kind of system with 5-4-1, 3-4-3, it depends on the time of the game. “We have worked hard, we’ve worked hard to improve but I still think we can do better and so hopefully by the end of the season we will prepare well for the FA Cup final and rest well for next season.”

Paul Lagan is a highly experienced journalist with more than 30 years experience in regional print and digital journalism. Paul has worked as a sports reporter, sub-editor, chief sub-editor and production editor at Newsquest South London, overseeing the implementation of their suite of award-winning websites. As well as a specialist sports reporter covering Chelsea FC for the London Weekly News group of newspapers, Paul is also a sub-editor at the South London Press.


Fabregas: It feels great to be champions