English Premiership

Conte hails Fabregas impact

Cesc Fabregas (Getty Images)
Cesc Fabregas (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Cesc Fabregas didn't start against Everton on Saturday, but manager Antonio Conte praised his contribution off the bench.

Fabregas and Willian both came on in the closing stages of the game at Goodison Park, and the Spaniard set up the Brazilian for the second goal of the night as the Blues cruised to a 3-0 win.

"I think Cesc is a player in this part of the season is showing to be decisive in every moment," Conte told reporters. "If he starts the game [or if] he came on during the game.

"Also [Willian], I know very well that it's not easy for a player who is used to playing every game and to come on during the game. But I must be pleased with them because they are showing me to be great men and fantastic players."

The match at Goodison Park was a tight affair until Pedro broke the deadlock with a stunner for his 12th of the season, but Conte said that he expects nothing less from a player who has won it all.

"I think Pedro is showing to be a great player. But, don't forget Pedro played for Barcelona and he won a lot with this club," Conte added.

"And he's a great player, he's having a fantastic season. But for sure, he must continue on this way and finish this season to win. Otherwise for him it's a good season, not a fantastic season."

Chelsea next face a tricky fixture as they welcome relegation strugglers Middlesbrough to Stamford Bridge on Monday evening with the Riverside club desperately fighting for their Premier League survival.

Kick is at 21:00.