Fabregas: A mental block caused my loss of form

The 25-year-old has accepted that his performance levels dipped last season, but is excited about working with Tito Vilanova, as Barcelona begin life after Pep Guardiola
Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas has admitted that his performance levels suffered in the second half of last season, but is looking forward to the start of the new campaign.

The former Arsenal man began his Camp Nou career in irresistible form, scoring a flurry of goals in the months proceeding his big-money move from North London.

But that form ground to a halt after Christmas, before Fabregas returned to his scintillating best as Spain won Euro 2012, and he is now excited about the challenge ahead under new coach Tito Vilanova.

"It was a mental block," he told the club's official website. "Tito has made it clear that I need to play the way I know. I have to be mobile and look for space, help my team-mates by playing the easy ball.

"I've noticed the difference in the first few games of pre-season - how rather than staying static on the inside left, I have to be more mobile.

"These three weeks of pre-season help to make us stronger and we need to fuel ourselves in order to perform better during the season. A good pre-season builds fitness to see you through until the end."

Fabregas went on to say that Vilanova is more vocal than many would believe, and that he offers his squad a lot of help.

"Tito is a coach with a lot of personality, more than people think. He'll have a lot to offer and we have to help him. He'll help because he knows so much about football.

"We will help by making sacrifices and by having the right attitude. If we help each other, we'll have a great year."

Barcelona get back to competitive action on August 18, when they host Real Sociedad on the first day of the new Liga season.