Cesc Fabregas may be affected by criticism, says Charlie Nicholas

Cesc Fabregas will find the fans' criticism 'tough' to deal with, says Charlie Nicholas

Charlie Nicholas fears Cesc Fabregas will find the criticism handed to him by Chelsea fans "tough" to deal with.

Both Fabregas and Chelsea forward Diego Costa were jeered during the Blues' 3-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday, their first match after Jose Mourinho's sacking in midweek. 

The pair were booed when their names were read out prior to the game, and both received similar treatement when they were substituted in the second half.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho's name was sung throughout the match, and new interim manager Guus Hiddink is tasked with bringing fans and players together for the remainder of the season.

Nicholas said on Soccer Saturday: "Right at the start everybody focused on the banners, and they were pretty harsh. Three individuals in particular, [Eden] Hazard, who was missing today, Fabregas and Diego Costa. 

Duo booed

Duo booed

Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa were booed by the Stamford Bridge crowd

"There was tension of a certain situation that Chelsea players have created themselves with their previous manager.

"There's no doubt that the majority of Chelsea fans were there to vocally support Jose Mourinho rather than the players themselves. 

Also See:

Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland said the 3-1 win was a good result

"Fabregas came off today to a lot of boos, a bit of clapping, and then Diego Costa came off. Those two were mentioned in a lot of the banners.

"I don't know if it was done with any thought process of bringing those two off but Costa got the worst of it. They obviously feel it's those two who are heavily guilty.

"He did, as Diego does, have a stare at the crowd as if to say: 'What's going on?' It takes big characters to come through these certain situations, and it's very rare that certain players can win over fans."

Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic said the players are well aware of what Jose Mourinho means to the fans

Nicholas feels Fabregas, who has struggled for form in 2015, has never been truly adored by the Chelsea fans, partly because of his Arsenal connection. 

But the Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal forward believes striker Costa can come through the criticism. 

"I think this will be about for quite a few weeks yet, maybe even months. Somebody like Fabregas in particular, someone they associate as an Arsenal man, they never quite adapted to him. 

Chelsea captain John Terry said any pressure that was on his side today was brought about by the players

"Costa on the other hand is a warrior when he wants to be so he can probably take it, but it was harsher than Cesc. 

"I don't see a long-term situation for Cesc, he will find that tough. This is a guy who has been at Barcelona, he's been at top clubs and he found himself a champion last season. I don't think he really needs this type of hassle in his life if this continues.

"It may be different. [Didier] Drogba may come in with Hiddink and relax them, turn it around. If they do then credit to them, but I think it will be difficult for certain characters."

Around Sky