Former Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has spoken out about his time at Chelsea and the relationship with Antonio Conte.
Now of AS Monaco, the iconic number four enjoyed a good two-year stint under Conte between 2016 till 2018.
It was not all good when Conte first arrived in the summer of 2016 from Juventus. Fabregas struggled to break into the title winning side with Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante forming an excellent partnership in the midfield.
This was something Fabregas was not used to after being an essential part of the 2014-2015 title success under Jose Mourinho.
Proving his brilliance
The fate changed for the Spaniard after an impeccable performance away at Manchester City in December 2016. The 3-1 away win at The Etihad shown the quality of Fabregas, he has recently spoken about his time under the Italian boss.
“When Conte first came to Chelsea, I did not really play for the first three months. He made it clear he wanted a different type of midfielder. Nemanja Matic was playing, I had an injury as well and I did not really play the whole season.
"But we went to Man City, we had won seven games and Conte says to me: ‘You have to play.’ We won 3-1, I played well and gave the assist to Costa for 1-1. It felt like I had made a point to the coach that he could count on me.
"But when we played West Brom, Matic recovers and he starts. It was a typical game and for 70 minutes it was 0-0. They were defending well. The game was calling for someone like me to come on to open the door or do something, but the minutes went by and nothing.
"I remember Costa coming to the touchline and shouting at Conte, saying: ‘Put Cesc on!’
"Conte is not the manager you mess with this and he was pretending not to listen to Costa. Two minutes later he says ‘Cesc come on,’ and two minutes later I come on and I provided the assist for Costa to score.”
Breaking up over text
Costa and Conte fell out at the end of the title winning season. The famous ‘text message’ was the reason for the outburst. Conte notoriously messaged the striker explaining he was not part of his plans.
Diego Costa signed for Chelsea in 2014 from Atletico Madrid, returning to the Spanish side after he left Chelsea in 2017. The number 19 scored 58 goals and supplied 24 assists in 120 games in blue.
He was a fan favourite during his era, to the point where Chelsea fans named him ‘The Guvnor,’ which was presented as a banner at Stamford Bridge.
The departure of the Brazilian born was not appreciated by many Chelsea fans. The agenda was heightened after his replacement, Alvaro Morata, did not reach the heights of his predecessor after his £60million transfer from Real Madrid.
Not enough: Two major trophies in two years
Chelsea still managed to win the F.A. Cup under Antonio Conte in the year Costa left Chelsea. The animated Italian boss won two trophies in two years at Chelsea, the two most prestigious competitions in English football.
The Premier League title and the F.A. Cup joy at Wembley did not stop Conte getting sacked in 2018. His time at Chelsea will be remembered with fond memories, nevertheless.
The switch to a 3-4-3 formation was the reason he won the Premier League title. You could argue that Conte changed the recent philosophy of English football after implementing the new formation. Many clubs have adopted the approach since and saw success.
Conte is now managing back in his home country at Inter Milan. His shopping list in the transfer market has included players from the Premier League.
Romelu Lukaku, Victor Moses, Ashley Young and Christian Eriksen have made the switch to Italy. The Milan side sit fourth in the league, 11 points off top spot Juventus.