Cesc Fabregas Changed My Mind - Antonio Conte

Lampard made the statement on BT Sport's Premier League Tonight show on Saturday night

The Spain global already has 12 starts to his name this season and Conte has praised the victor in him.

"I think that the coach has to make the best decision for the team, I tried to make the best decision, in this season he is playing with regularity, he is performing well and I hope in the future to continue in this way".

This time last season, Fabregas had started only four competitive games for Conte but has forced the manager to change his mind in 12 months since.

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.

"If you remember the second part of last season he started to play with regularity and first part of last season I played nearly every game with [N'Golo] Kante and [Nemanja] Matic".

'Every time I had an opportunity I gave my all, I delivered and from then on we started to create relationship. "In this season he has continued to work very hard and he's shown me great commitment, great behaviours". "The strength of the crowd is important and I think with all the strength they give us we will improve".

Cesc Fabregas is feeling young as ever.

Fabregas is a first choice in Conte's favoured 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 formations, but the 30-year-old playmaker is out of contract in June 2019.

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Prior to last season's festive schedule, the midfielder had only started four games under the Italian boss.

'I'm 30 but you never stop learning in football and that's what I'm doing.

"Me and Cesc never really got on well on the pitch so they didn't think we could share a dressing room".

"At the end of the year I have a year left but let's see what happens". I'm enjoying my football.

Antonio Conte believes Cesc Fabregas can play at the top level for at least another five years. When the moment comes to talk I'll be here, ready for it'.

'I reached a few semi-finals and lost a final in a cruel way but it's a competition where you need to be lucky, consistent and strong and hopefully it can be Chelsea's year. "He's a victor in his mind, in his mentality, for this reason he is very strong".

Chelsea are already booked into the knock-out stage and can win Group C and secure top-seeding in Monday's draw for the last-16 by beating Atletico.

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