By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes

Michael Ballack has identified Cesc Fabregas as the Chelsea player who consistently impresses him.

Former Chelsea midfielder Ballack says the midfielder was excellent in a more defensive role as Guus Hiddink’s side lost 2-1 against PSG in their Champions League first leg last-16 clash on Tuesday night.

John Obi Mikel cancelled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener before Edinson Cavani’s late winner gave the French side an advantage going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge in three weeks.

With Nemanja Matic unavailable due to suspension, Fabregas was paired with Mikel in central midfield and caught the eye of someone who knows that role very well.

“He’s a serious player, he knows what he’s doing on the pitch even if he’s not very active on television like today,” Ballack told BT Sport. “He makes 80, 90 per cent the right decisions in terms of passing, in terms of running and closing space.”

Fabregas has been heavily criticised this season, including by many Chelsea supporters, for a series of performances that have been a far cry from his early displays in a Blues shirt.

“I’ve seen a few games from him and I’m always impressed by him the whole season,” added Ballack.