Cesc Fabregas battling illness, status for Champions League up in air

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Chelsea was hoping to get back midfield wizard Cesc Fabregas, who has proven a vital player to their Premier League title run this year, but that may not happen.

Fabregas missed a pair of Premier League matches due to injury before getting 20 minutes against Everton this past weekend. Set to play the full 90 minutes against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday in the Champions League knockout round, he has now fallen ill, according to manager Jose Mourinho.

Fabregas (pictured, left) showed up to training in Paris on Monday covered in warm clothing, and is battling fitness before game time, but has not been ruled out.

“Fabregas has been ill,” confirmed Mourinho during his prematch press conference. “We are a different team with Fabregas, I’m not saying better or worse, I’m saying different. The team grew up from preseason with him on the team and the team went in a certain direction with a style of play.”

Mourinho may not say it, but we can. Chelsea is better with Fabregas, no question. Mourinho almost went there.

“Without him, we lose some control, some possession, we become the same team, well organized, good in transition. But with him, we control the game better, we have more control of the game. We have possession of the ball because of the nature of the style of player he is.”

This very well may be a Mourinho tactic ahead of game time to confuse the opposition and build up his own player for when he eventually shows up in the starting lineup, but PSG would have a much better chance with Fabregas out. Without him, Ramires would likely take his spot in the middle with John Obi Mikel not available.

“We have only little problems, not everybody is perfect,” said Mourinho. “Oscar has a problem, Fabregas was ill, Willian still has a little feeling from the Liverpool game, but everybody wanted to try and I would say that only Mikel is completely out.”