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Jose Mourinho leaps to the defence of Cesc Fabregas

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Fabregas and Chelsea have suffered a dip in form
Fabregas and Chelsea have suffered a dip in form

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has claimed the criticism flowing in the direction of his Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas in recent weeks has been misplaced.

Fabregas has come under fire as his assist count has dipped dramatically since the turn of the year, while Chelsea midfield enforcer Nemanja Matic is also perceived to have dipped in form after a sparkling start to the season.

Yet Mourinho has claimed both Fabregas and Matic are still the heartbeat of his midfield engine room.

“When some people write that Fabregas has dropped his level because the number of assists are not the same, the number of assists are probably not the same because the player that he assists doesn’t score,” said Mourinho.

“I think he’s playing wonderfully well for us. I’ve never had doubts about his importance for us in the team.

“As for Matic, he was suspended, and after the suspension he was injured celebrating in the Capital One Cup final. So he went back and he was not in the best condition.

“He was out for two or three weeks so it takes time, but I always think stability is very important in a team, and it’s not in April you are going to make important changes. April is a moment of stability and obviously I keep faith in the people that I trust from the beginning of the season.”

Meanwhile, Mourinho accepts his side have lost their way in recent weeks, even though they are hanging on to a commanding position at the top of the Premier League standings.

“This is a difficult moment, but it’s a difficult moment that we can handle,” added Mourinho. “We are ready to play, we are ready to fight, to suffer together.

“We believe in ourselves and we believe that the most difficult job is the job of the others that come from behind. If they [Chelsea’s title rivals] draw one game, they are in trouble. They have to win every game so it’s more difficult for them than for us.”

“We are ready for ­everything and we believe that the most difficult job is the job of the others that come from behind. Because the others, if they draw one game, they are in trouble. They have to win every game so it’s more difficult for them than for us.”