Cesc Fabregas: 'The Premier League has improved, breaking down defences these days is much more difficult,' says Chelsea midfielder

Fabregas already has 15 assists for Chelsea this season

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The Independent Football

Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas has said that the Premier League has improved in the three years he was away at Barcelona, even if he is on course to break the division's assist record.

Fabregas, 27, returned to London in the summer after a spell back in his native Spain and has taken the Premier League by storm, leading Chelsea to the top of the league playing a brand of spellbinding attacking football.

In the 5-0 win against Swansea, the Spaniard became the first player in two seasons to reach 15 assists and with 16 matches still to play he needs just six more to notch the highest tally since records began. No other player has more than eight assists this season.

But Fabregas, who also leads the division in passes completed and key passes, insisted it is a harder league than the one he played in with Arsenal in 2010-11.

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Fabregas also hailed midfield partner Nemanja Matic

"The Premier League has definitely improved since I left three years ago," he said. "The passion is still the same - from the fans, the players. Physically it has always been a really hard league because it is so competitive, but tactically it’s now much better.

"I think to break down defence these days is more difficult than before."

Jose Mourinho's team may be competing on all four fronts, with a trip to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup semi-final tonight, but Fabregas was coy on Chelsea's chances of winning all four trophies.

"It’s obviously difficult to say, but at the moment we are still competing in all of them, so I’d never say never," he added."We will try our best, but we’ll only see at the end of the season."

Fabregas owes much of his success this season to central midfield partner Nemanja Matic, with the two complimenting each other almost perfectly; the Spaniard providing the guile and craft and the Serbian the muscle in Chelsea's midfield. But Fabregas says there is more to Matic than his ability as an enforcer.

"It’s called the holding role, but I don’t think he is the typical holding midfield player," said the Spaniard. "He runs a lot, he is all over the place because he loves winning battles and he loves winning the ball back.

"So we move quite a lot in midfield and everyone helps, but definitely Nemanja is a key player for us because his defensive attributes are really important for the team."

Fabregas has played all but 129 minutes for Chelsea in the Premier League this season and all but 48 minutes in the Champions League, starting every game in both competitions.

 

He has been rested in the FA Cup and the earlier rounds of the Capital One Cup, but is expected to start at Anfield tonight.

Fabregas says he does not feel at all tired. "No, you know, this coach knows very well what he does," he said. 

"We play a lot of games but he also gives a lot of freedom to the players. If he feels that players are playing a lot, that they are getting tired, he will give you three days off, so you can rest and spend time with your family.

"He is very intelligent and he is doing very well."

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