Wednesday 16 August 2017

Chelsea star Eden Hazard picks out Manchester United as one of Chelsea's chief title rivals

Eden Hazard and Jose Mourinho in happier times.
Eden Hazard and Jose Mourinho in happier times.
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has backed Jose Mourinho to guide Manchester United to a top three finish in the Premier League season, as he offered up a fascinating comparison between his old boss and current Blues manager Antonio Conte.

Hazard and Mourinho were believed to have had a stormy relationship before the latter was sacked as Chelsea manager in December 2015, but in an interview with Sky Sports pundit, it was clear that he still has plenty of respect for the Portuguese tactician.

When asked by Henry who he felt would be Chelsea’s main rivals in what increasingly appears to be a one-horse title race, Hazard offered up this response: “I think Arsenal and Manchester United.

“United had a bad first part of the season and I think for a couple of games now, they played well. They drew against Stoke, but they have good players and the squad is very good. The manager is good, so they will be second or third.

“Tottenham also are strong. We lost there, but for me it is more Manchester United. They are more experienced. That is my opinion, maybe I’m wrong.”

Hazard was also asked to compare the respective talents of Mourinho and his current Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, as he suggested the Italian focuses a little more of his attention on tactical planning.

“In tactics and training we do more with Conte,” he said. “We work a lot of tactical positions and we know exactly what we have to do on the pitch, where I have to go and where the defenders have to go.

“We know exactly what to do. With Mourinho, he put in a system but we didn't work lots. We know what to do because we play football, but maybe the automatisms were a little bit different.

“With Mourinho, Nemanja Matic was behind me in the season when we won the title and sometimes I stayed in front and Matic did the job.

“With Conte it's different. I close more inside because Marcos Alonso is there as a wing-back. I just need to be ready to counter-attack if we get the ball.”

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