Wednesday 24 January 2018

Mourinho stamps his authority on Hazard

Eden Hazard has felt the wrath of Chelsea boss Joe Mourinho after missing a training session earlier this week following an unauthorised trip to France last Sunday
Eden Hazard has felt the wrath of Chelsea boss Joe Mourinho after missing a training session earlier this week following an unauthorised trip to France last Sunday

Gerry Cox

CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed Eden Hazard was dropped for the Champions League clash with Schalke after losing his passport following an unsanctioned trip to France.

Hazard (22) travelled to watch former club Lille last Sunday, but had complications in getting back and missed training the following day.

The Chelsea boss was not happy that Hazard had been absent from training, but now insists the club will move on.

"He went to a foreign country when he shouldn't have," Mourinho said. "On top of that he lost his passport which didn't allow him to be back in training, which is obviously unacceptable.

"It is over. No more consequences, the consequence was not to play which is the worst thing that can happen to a player. Case over, he is a very good kid and there are no problems.

"It was not a big story. Every player knows me and knows my reaction, the group is always more important than any player."

Mourinho also admitted the decision to leave the Belgium international in the stands could have come back to haunt him as Chelsea looked to move towards the knockout phase of the Champions League.

The Blues ended up winning 3-0 without Hazard and Mourinho confirmed he will be available for selection for the Premier League fixture against West Brom today.

"I think he (Hazard) reacted well because he apologised to me and to the club," he said.

"Of course, the apology was not accepted, because it is something I couldn't accept, but it is over, so now it is something that doesn't exist any more.

"He is selected and ready to play and I believe he has the appetite to play because he loves playing and I didn't allow him to play the last game.

"It was a bit of a risk to not play him, speaking in terms of pure football, because he is a player who could have helped us win an important match.

"You have to take some risks when you feel the consequences for the group are very important and I think it was an important decision."

Meanwhile, Mourinho launched his first attack on the Premier League authorities since his return when he claimed they were "laughing at him" by making Chelsea play West Bromwich Albion today, just three days after their Champions League victory over Schalke.

It is the second time in a fortnight that he has felt Chelsea have been picked on by the fixture compilers, after they played Arsenal in the League Cup on a Tuesday following a league clash with Manchester City two days earlier. Arsenal, Tottenham and the two Manchester clubs will play tomorrow after European ties in the week, while Liverpool have not played since last weekend.

Mourinho said: "I feel our match is very special because from every English team involved in Euro competitions, especially the ones involved in Champions League matches, we're the only team that play Saturday.

Everybody else has one more day to rest. Once more we're really special and our game against WBA becomes the 'Special Saturday' not 'Special Sunday'! It's happening a lot with us. The people who decide the fixtures, I think they laugh (at us). They know what they can do and laugh because I can do nothing."

Mourinho also joined in the debate on diving by admitting: "I hate it." Although he was at pains to make clear he was not talking about Ashley Young, Mourinho made a more general point.

"If, because of diving, a football result directly is affected, I think the player should be punished. But I don't need to speak to my players because they don't dive. I have the biggest example here. For Eden Hazard to go on the floor they need to kill him. Sometimes he gets kicked by one, two or three players, but he never dives." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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