Conte believes Fabregas could be key for Chelsea

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Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte believes Cesc Fabregas can be the creative fulcrum for his side this season.

With a lighter workload last campaign, the Spanish midfielder was in and out of the starting line-up in Chelsea's run to the Premier League title.

Also, with Eden Hazard still recovering from a broken ankle, this year could initially see a change in setup and attacking focus.

"He is a really good player who can play in this position in midfield, but he could also play number 10," Conte said.

"He is a great example to others with his commitment and his behaviour every day during training sessions. He must continue this way because he is working well for us.

"I think Cesc has improved a lot from when I arrived at Chelsea, from his start and up to now, he has improved a lot."

The 30-year-old Spaniard is keen to impress after sporadic appearances in the second half of last season, coming off the bench in five of the final 11 matches of the Premier League campaign.

"Last season, because of the schedule with no Champions League and because we went out early in the League Cup, we were all fit for most of the season," Fabregas said.

"We had basically every midweek off and the manager did not have to make a lot of changes.

"The manager said himself it is a long season ahead with lots of games and we will need all the players to be ready for whenever he needs us. I am sure we will have more opportunities ahead of us."