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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Fabregas not fazed by criticism

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas admits that he cannot always please every Blaugrana fan but says he is not worried by the recent criticism of his form.

Fabregas, 25, has had an indifferent start to the season, having had to come off the Barca bench on occasions or be substituted off early.

Despite recently admitting to not entirely enjoying the bit-part role he has had to play, he understands that dealing with different opinions is part and parcel of playing for a big club.

"There is always a lot of talk around Barca, and people who give their opinions," he said. "I concentrate on playing football. There are people who like that and those who don't. Some people defend me always, others never. I just enjoy myself and always give everything. I am learning a lot."

The ex-Arsenal man completed a full 90 minutes in Barcelona's last two games - a 4-1 win at Getafe in La Liga last Saturday and a 3-2 victory against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday - something he is very happy about.

"I have always felt an important part of the team," he said. "But it is a while since I played two full games in a row and I feel good to have done that. I am happy."

Fabregas' tough start to the season has has been compounded by not having scored yet in eight appearances for Barcelona, but the Spain international says it is something he is not too concerned about and that goals will soon come.

"Last year everything was going in for me; this year it is not so easy," he said. "This is not the first time it has happened to me. Football is like that. I am relaxed. If I keep working my luck will change."

Barcelona's victory on Tuesday was marred by the ankle injury picked up by Gerard Pique and, coupled with Carles Puyol's current knee problem, they look light in central defence at present.

Fabregas, though, believes they have the strength in depth to cover the injuries following the signing of former Gunners team-mate Alex Song.

"We have lots of competition within the squad and young players ready for when they are needed," he said. "Song could play at centre-half against Madrid. He is versatile and I was not surprised to see him playing at the back against Spartak. Physically he is very strong and he plays the ball from the back very well. He will have to get used to playing with a high defensive line, because Barca are different to Arsenal."

Barcelona currently sit atop of La Liga, already eight points ahead of Real Madrid, and Fabregas hopes they can keep up the pressure on their title rivals this weekend.

"It is very early and Madrid have huge potential," he said. "This week we play before Madrid, and it is up to us to put more pressure on them. They go to Vallecas [to play Rayo] which is never easy, but neither will Granada [at home] be an easy game for us."

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