Jose Mourinho has risked angering Cesc Fabregas after claiming the Spain international is not capable of replacing Chelsea hero Frank Lampard, who left Stamford Bridge after 13 years earlier this summer.
The Blues boss admitted in an interview with BT Sport that Fabregas is a “fantastic” player, but does not feel Fabregas will go on to match Lampard’s phenomenal achievements.
Mourinho: Fabregas can't replace Lampard
“Cesc? He’ll never replace Lampard,” Mourinho commented. “He is a player we needed to slightly alter the profile of our game. I want to go a step further in midfield.
“Cesc is a fantastic player but we can never say he is replacing Lampard because Frank is Frank and one day they’ll build him a statue.”
Mourinho’s comments may surprise Chelsea fans, many of whom believe Fabregas had the quality to fire the Blues to their first Premier League title since 2010 this season.
Will Fabregas be upset by Mourinho - again?
That the Spain international chose to join Chelsea this summer, given his previous affiliation to Arsenal and his strained relationship with Mourinho, came as a shock.
But this isn’t the first time since Fabregas signed for Chelsea that Mourinho has risked upsetting the £32 million former Barcelona star.
Last month the Portuguese coach indicated that Fabregas wasn’t even his first-choice midfield transfer target. He revealed that he had attempted to sign Real Madrid’s Luka Modric, only for the Croatian to reject Mourinho’s advances.
Fabregas has performed well for Chelsea in pre-season, but the world-class midfielder might begin to have a few regrets over his decision to join the Blues if Mourinho continues this odd behaviour.