By Spain correspondent Miguel de Souza

Cesc Fabregas has claimed that Chelsea have been unable to cope with the “brutal” pace of the Premier League this season.

The Blues playmaker admits the champions have been “steamrollered” by opponents who they beat easily when they marched to the title.

In a fascinating interview with Spanish radio station Onda Cero, Fabregas gave an insight into why Chelsea’s results have been so wretched months after winning the Premier League by eight points.

“This year the physical level of the Premier League is brutal and if you are not right for a game the opposition steamroller you,” Fabregas explained. “It is happening to us at the moment. You face a team that last season you practically knew that you would beat and this year it is more difficult.

“I don’t think in terms of quality the Premier League is at the level of La Liga but physically it’s ahead and right now teams further down the table have improved tactically too and that is helping make for a far more competitive league.”

As revealed by Football Insider, Chelsea are preparing for a drastic overhaul of their playing squad next year, which will result in a clear-out of first-team stars.

Fabregas has been dropped to the bench for Chelsea’s last two league matches, which they have lost to continue a miserable run that stretches back to the start of the campaign.

Sub standard: Cesc Fabregas will recall his worst Barcelona times after Chelsea axe

Sub standard: Cesc Fabregas will recall his worst Barcelona times after Chelsea axe

“Last season we lost four games in the entire season and this season I have practically lost count, I don’t know if it is six or seven defeat,” said the midfielder. “Clearly we are doing something very wrong.

“It gave us a big lift winning in the Champions League the other day and we can still top the group. But in the league we have to start winning now. And I’m not saying to win the Premier because that now is going to be very difficult.

“But to be in the Champions League places, and not just for this season, for the club and for our own sense of pride, but for next season because in the end we all want to play the Champions League. We all want to compete against the best and a club like Chelsea has to be there.”