Cesc Fabregas has lashed out at critics who doubted him as he returned to the Chelsea starting lineup and scored the winning goal for Chelsea.

The 2016/17 season has not been the best of campaigns for Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas. While the Blues have reshaped English football with a new philosophy and a rather unconventional system, Fabregas has been used as a fringe player by new manager Antonio Conte.

The Italian signed 2015/16 Premier League winner N’Golo Kante from Leicester City for £30 million, and he has become one of Chelsea’s key players. At the start of the season, he was fielded as a defensive midfielder with a pairing of Oscar and Nemanja Matic ahead of him.

Post the transition to 3-4-3, Kante and Matic have formed an infallible central midfield pivot. This has seen Fabregas struggle to clock regular playing minutes.

However, for Wednesday’s game against Sunderland, Fabregas was named in the starting eleven with Matic dropping to the bench. The Spaniard put up a decent showing and scored the game’s only goal, courtesy of an assist from Willian.

Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Chelsea at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, north-east England on December 14, 2016. / AFP / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Chelsea’s Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Chelsea at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, north-east England on December 14, 2016. (Photo Courtesy: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

After the game, Fabregas said that he had silenced all those who doubted his capabilities as a football player. He has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, but is of the opinion that he has proven himself to be a regular at Chelsea.

“In football today people forget very, very, very quickly who you are, and what you can do. Hopefully now I can get a run of games in the team,” he said in a post-match television interview (via Goal).

“People forget that tonight is just the second time in my life that I have played this system. I am getting used to it, I have lots of players in front of me in space and protection behind me. We want to keep winning, this period in the year is important and we can say a lot,” he added.

With a busy fixture list in the festive period, Conte is likely to chop and change his lineup on a number of occasions, and Fabregas could be given more chances to prove that he is worthy of a starting berth.

Also Read: Conte heaps praise on Fabregas after goal against Sunderland

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