Saturday 18 November 2017

Eden Hazard in thinly-veiled swipe at former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

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

Jack de Menezes

Eden Hazard has taken a thinly-veiled swipe at former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho by admitting that it took his replacement just one week to improve him as a player.

Mourinho was dismissed by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for a second time in his career in December 2015, despite winning the Premier League title just seven months before, and Antonio Conte eventually replaced the Portuguese at the end of the season following an interim stint by Guus Hiddink.

Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge exit proved to be a messy one, with reports that he fell out with key figures in the Chelsea squad that included Hazard, midfielder Cesc Fabregas and striker Diego Costa. The ill-feeling towards the manager still appears to be alive in Hazard at least, as he was keen to talk up current manager Conte over Mourinho, with the Italian leading Chelsea to the Premier League title last season.

“Even after a week I think I had progressed with him,” Hazard said of Conte’s impact.

“I think he's shown not just at Chelsea but also at Juve [Juventus] that he's a good coach and I think he has some good years ahead of him.”

Hazard is yet to start a match for Chelsea this season as he continues his comeback from a broken leg suffered at the end of last season, but he is set to appear in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third round cup clash against Nottingham Forest where Conte could select the Belgium forward to lead a heavily changed side.

The 26-year-old has not been spared from Conte’s intense training sessions though, and despite the injury, he admitted that the Italian coach breeds a culture at the club where the work in training genuinely pays off when it comes to match days.

“There's a lot of tactics. It's not always nice as a forward as you have to run, defend and everything, but at least at the weekend, you know exactly what to do, you can even close your eyes and play. That's good,” Hazard added.

“We work a lot. It's not always easy in training, there are a lot of hours of training, but it bears fruit on the pitch. We play well, we won last year. You can see that that's the key to success: work.”

Independent News Service

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