Cesc Fabregas insists that every Chelsea player must accept Antonio Conte’s rotation policy after the Italian made four changes to his starting XI for Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Swansea City at Stamford Bridge.
Cesar Azpilicueta’s run of 74 consecutive Premier League starts was brought to an end by Conte, who also rested Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko, while Fabregas returned to the line-up having been a substitute against Liverpool at Anfield last weekend.
Antonio Rudiger’s 55th minute header gave Chelsea victory despite their wasteful finishing against Swansea, and after the game Fabregas said that Conte’s desire to freshen things up will help his players during the gruelling festive fixture schedule.
“We have to cope with the situation,” he told the London Evening Standard. “No-one can play every three days even if we want to. If you keep playing, you will keep carrying knocks so it is good to have a break sometimes and come back fresher.
“To know that the team is performing and winning without Eden really being involved is very good. We started the season without him and he didn’t start against Swansea because he is the best player and needed a rest.
“Beating Swansea has kept the momentum going. In this period of the year it is just important to keep getting the three points. I think it is important for everyone in the team, especially the manager, to know that he can make a few alterations to the line-up and the team can still perform and get the win.
“It is crucial for him and the team to see that we can trust anyone. In this case it’s a double victory because everyone is hungry to win, to play and to make it difficult for the manager.”
Chelsea’s victory extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to six matches but they remain 11 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who have won 13 of 14 league games this season.
“Obviously when you’re in the kind of form City are in, that whatever you do, you score one, two, three, four late winners, sometimes this shows you it could be your year,” Fabregas admitted.
“That you are so lucky in the final minutes.
“It happened to us when I first came to the club a few years ago [when Chelsea won the title in 2014-15] and we were winning games at the end. That shows that it’s your year and everything is happening for you. But at the same time this is not happening in March, it is late November so it’s still early.
“Let’s see what happens. They are doing well but we have to keep an eye on the top and get closer and closer. We wish that they will drop points and you keep them in mind. Obviously they are at the top and we want to be at the top. We have to keep doing what we are doing, winning and winning.
“We have the mentality to handle it. We have to keep going and not think about what they are doing. We know they are doing well. Let’s just try to put this to the side and get as close as we can.”