Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has heaped praise on the re-emergence of Cesc Fabregas as the midfielder develops into a leading light for the title-chasing Londoners this season.
Just three months ago it looked as if the Spaniard's time in the Premier League was up as a limited number of starts and cameos off the bench left question marks over his future.
The 29-year-old, however, has knuckled down and grown into an instrumental part of this expected title-winning side. His re-emergence may also fuel doubts over Nemanja Matic's future at the club.
Conte, speaking ahead of today's trip to Stoke City, said:“ He always has a great impact. He's technically very good, and can put the ball where he wants. He's a great player. Often he's decisive with the pass, with the assist, and also to score a goal.
“He's showing that he has a great impact for us. I hope to finish in the right way this season, and to try to win, but for sure Cesc, this season, is showing to be a great professional but, above all, a great player.”
Conte acknowledged Fabregas' work-rate and commitment has rubbed off on his squad.
“I'm very pleased to see that in him, his commitment and work-rate. This season he faced a new situation. Cesc, in the past, has always played every single game. It's not easy to change.
"But, for sure, Cesc showed me that he is not only a great player but a great person. I think, this season, he has improved a lot in all aspects and, for me, he is a really, really important player.”