Midfielder Cesc Fabregas must continue to sharpen the defensive side of his game to earn a place in Chelsea’s starting line-up, manager Antonio Conte has said.
Fabregas is yet to start a Premier League game this season, making two substitute appearances with Conte opting for Oscar along with Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante in midfield.
The Italian manager, though, assured that the Spaniard remains part of his plans at Stamford Bridge.
“Cesc is in my plans and in Chelsea’s plans,” Conte told British media. “Cesc is working very well and improving a lot in many aspects in the defensive situation.
“I have to choose 11 players but if it happens that I decide to play with Cesc, another player will be on the bench and I want to see the same attitude and behaviour of Cesc.”
The former Juventus manager added that Brazilian Oscar’s all-round game was better suited for Chelsea’s midfield.
“I always thought this team needed to find a good balance when you have possession of the ball and when you have not, and last season Chelsea conceded 55 goals,” Conte added.
“Oscar is a good player, great technique and can do both facets: both offensive and defensive.
“I asked him to stay always focused on the game, to stay in the game. He’s an important player for Chelsea.”
Chelsea will look to extend their unbeaten start to the league when they host sixth-placed Liverpool on Friday night.