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Mourinho praises "phenomenal" Fabregas as Arsenal await

03 October 2014, 19:16

London - Cesc Fabregas might have been "Made in Arsenal" but all that matters for his manager Jose Mourinho is that he has been playing "phenomenal" football for top-of-the-table Chelsea.

As Fabregas prepares to face his old club for the first time, his former manager Arsene Wenger said he passed up a reported option to re-sign the player because the Spaniard had already decided to join Chelsea.

The two men were speaking on Friday about one of the Premier League's most impressive imports, who is hoping to win his first English league title with Chelsea, after failing to lift the trophy during his eight years at Arsenal.

Mourinho, speaking to reporters at his club's training ground at Cobham, west of London, before Chelsea play Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, said he had no interest in where Fabregas might have landed after he left Barca -- all that concerned him was that he was their player now.

"I don't say he was born, but almost he was "Made at Arsenal", and I don't think it's important where he might have gone. For me the important thing is that he is a Chelsea player and he has been phenomenal for us.

Read also: Wenger hungry to avenge Chelsea hammering

"Every game, no exception. He has been phenomenal, taking all his responsibilities that affects the team. He is playing well and we are getting results and I couldn't be happier since getting him, for me that is the important part.

"I don't know if Chelsea was his first choice and I'm not even interested in that. He is our player, that's what matters."

Arsenal bond

Fabregas has made no secret of his bond with Arsenal, but said in a wide-ranging interview in The Sun last month that once he knew he would not be returning there, he had no problem in moving to the other side of London and pulling on Chelsea's blue shirt.

One of the enduring mysteries though was why Wenger did not activate his first refusal on the player, who was a hero for Arsenal fans in over 300 games between 2003 and 2011.

Wenger explained on Friday that he did not move for Fabregas because he believed the player had already decided to join Chelsea.

Arsenal, he said, already had enough attacking midfielders after signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for a club-record fee of 42.5 million pounds ($67.94 million) in August 2013.

Wenger was asked by reporters at his training complex at London Colney, north of London, whose decision was it for Fabregas to move to Stamford Bridge.

"Cesc Fabregas," replied Wenger.

Read also: English Premier League fixtures

"When he left we bought Ozil to have an offensive player. We have (Santi) Cazorla, we have (Jack) Wilshere we have (Aaron) Ramsey, we have (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain -- all offensive players. We did not need to buy another offensive player."

He added that he did not think Fabregas would have re-joined Arsenal anyway.

"I personally believe the deal was done a long time ago, early in 2014 and that all the other speculation is just made up."

Wenger and Fabregas, who became Arsenal's youngest ever player when he made his debut for them as a 16-year-old in October 2003, are known to have a good relationship.

"I have no personal animosity towards him, I wish him well, he's a great player, he's a person I love and a player I love."

He was also loved by the Arsenal fans once, and both managers hope they give him a good reception on Sunday, although naturally, Mourinho had the last word.

"If 40,000 blues fans want him, no-one will listen to what 3,000 red fans want," he said.

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- Reuters


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