Advertisement

Fabregas the coach looks to compete in Serie A

Cesc Fabregas in the dugout during Como's draw with Cosenza

As a player, Cesc Fabregas won the World Cup and the European Championship with Spain, plus numerous club prizes with Barcelona, Arsenal and Chelsea.

But playing a part in Como's promotion to Serie A is right up there in the former midfielder's list of footballing achievements.

The Lombardy club secured a third promotion in six years thanks to last weekend's 1-1 draw with Cosenza.

Como are heading back to the Italian top flight after 21 years away, having twice gone bankrupt during their time away.

Fabregas has played an integral part this season, first of all as caretaker boss and then assistant manager.

He says Como's success is the result of a "process where every detail matters".

“It was based on hard work, belief and having a good structure," Fabregas added.

“We’ve recruited good people and quality players who are humble and hard-working.”

Como rise again after rapid decline

After being relegated from Serie A in 2003, Como fell all the way down to Serie D, the non-professional fourth tier of Italian football.

Financial troubles came alongside football struggles, with Como declared bankrupt for a second time as recently as 2016.

Yet they have been on an upward trajectory since 2019, after Indonesian tobacco giants Djarum took over the club.

Como were in Serie B when Fabregas joined as a player in 2022.

He also became a shareholder alongside former Arsenal and Barcelona team-mate Thierry Henry.

In November 2023, a few months after he retired as a player, Fabregas was named interim head coach.

At that point, Fabregas said, he did not feel promotion this season was possible "for many reasons", including the team's mentality and style of play.

“The unity of the group was good - they are a family," Fabregas told BBC Sport Wales.

"It was about them believing that is was possible [to win promotion], and that’s what we achieved in the end."

Fabregas says building a "family-strong bond" within Como's squad was an obsession once he took up a coaching role.

The result, he feels, was a team who were "ready to fight against anybody".

“You look at Venezia, Cremonese and Palermo - the overall squads you could potentially say that they are stronger than us," Fabregas said.

"They are clubs that have been created to go to Serie A directly. They’ve been working for three years as a process to achieve this, and for us to go to Serie A ahead of them is something to be proud of.”

Welshman Roberts' 'fantastic' contribution

Fabregas was only able to fill the head coach role for seven games as he did not have the required coaching licence.

Como therefore appointed former Wales assistant manager Osian Roberts to lead the team until the end of the season, with Fabregas staying on as his number two.

Like Arsenal's Mikel Arteta and former Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira, Henry studied for his coaching badges in Wales under the guidance of Roberts, a former technical director at the Football Association of Wales.

Fabregas says Roberts' contribution has been "fantastic".

“He’s been a mentor for me, challenging me, seeing how I would react in different situations," the 37-year-old added.

“When we were looking to bring someone in, Thierry recommended him. He told me that he was the right guy for us.

“I spoke to Mikel, and I spoke to Patrick because they worked together for two years at Crystal Palace. Everyone was very complimentary about him."

Fabregas is due to complete his pro licence qualifications this summer, which would allow him to become Como’s full-time boss.

Roberts is expected to 'move upstairs' and focus exclusively on a head of development role, though Fabregas was not willing to give too much away amid Como's promotion celebrations.

“There’s an announcement coming soon and you’ll have to wait for that," he said.

“I’m very happy here. My intention is to be here. In a couple of weeks everything will be clear.”

Fabregas is aware of the "big challenge" ahead as he looks to keep Como in Serie A if, as expected, he becomes permanent boss.

“It’s going to be difficult because obviously we’ll be competing on the highest level, but we have a clear idea of what we want to do," he said.

“I was the same I was as a player now that I’m a coach. We’ve had a successful season, but now it’s done. We have to move on to the next one."