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Annoyed Fabregas hits back at lazy claims

The former Arsenal man is often deployed in a number of positions between midfield and attack, but has been criticised by sections of the media and support for a lack of work-rate.

However, Fabregas - who has scored nine goals in 25 outings this term - believes the opposite is in fact the case, and that a high work ethic often takes him out of effective positions.

He told AS: "I know I have that reputation and it annoys me, because I don't stop moving around the whole pitch.

"Perhaps too much, because by moving so much it seems like I'm nowhere.

"Maybe (I am only appreciated for my goals) but after the game against Villarreal, which I admit was my weakest match of the season so far, I was happy because I had played a part in the move that led to the (second) goal."

The Spain international also insisted that Barc will not be negatively affected by Lionel Messi's spell on the sidelines through injury.

Argentina and Camp Nou star Messi has not played since November 10 due to a hamstring complaint, but Fabregas hopes he will return boosted by a rest at the business end of the season.

When asked if Messi's absence worried him, Fabregas replied: "No, because he'll be fine at the most important time of the season.

"That's what I told him when he got injured.