Cesc Fabregas said that a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal has been the main reason why Chelsea have fallen so far short of defending their Premier League title this season.
Eden Hazard remains Chelsea’s top scorer with 12 league goals and club-record signing Alvaro Morata has 11, even though he has scored just three times in all competitions in 2018 as he has battled confidence issues and lingering back pain.
With two games to go, Chelsea have scored 24 fewer goals than they managed in winning the title last season. Antonio Conte has pointed to his team’s wastefulness as a key reason for unexpected points dropped during the campaign and Fabregas agrees.
“I think the biggest regret maybe this season [has been] been up front, not taking our chances, because people can say we didn’t play well enough — which, maybe it’s true,” Fabregas told Sky Sports. “We have had many, many chances to score in games — to win games that we didn’t win, games that we drew.
“We could have won more if we had been more clinical and that’s been our weakest point this season.”
Chelsea have finally hit their stride in recent weeks, winning five consecutive matches in all competitions to reach the FA Cup final and propel themselves back into the race for a top-four finish.
Olivier Giroud has played a key role in the run, scoring four goals, and Fabregas said that the France international has made a big impact since joining Chelsea from Arsenal for £18 million in January.
“Oli is helping us a lot in certain things that maybe we were lacking,” he said.
“The most important is he is scoring big goals, which is what we ask — especially me as a midfielder. This is what we want — the strikers put their chances away and make the team win points.”
Chelsea lie 25 points adrift of champions Manchester City, who stand to break a host of records with victories in their final two games.
“Man City have gone into another level this year,” Fabregas said. “They have been playing very well. They didn’t give a chance — the same way we didn’t give anybody a chance last year.
“Congratulations to them, and next season we must make sure we come back stronger than ever.”
Liam is ESPN FC’s Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.