Eden Hazard on his biggest regret and why he wants to work with Jose Mourinho again
Eden Hazard has admitted he regrets his role in Jose Mourinho's downfall at Chelsea and admitted he would like to work with the manager now in charge of Manchester United once again.
Hazard was PFA Player of the Year as he played a key role in Chelsea's Premier League title win in the 2014/15 season, but he was curiously out of form in them first half of the following campaign, with Mourinho sacked by the Stamford Bridge club in December 2015.
The sight of Hazard walking off the pitch at Leicester in what proved to be Mourinho's final game in charge of Chelsea with an injury was viewed as a symbol that the Portuguese tactician had lost the support of his dressing room and now the Belgian midfielder has spoken about his feelings towards Mourinho in an interview with HLN.
"The last season under Mourinho was not pleasant," he stated. "We didn't win, we got into a sort of routine, training-training without having fun, it was better for all parties that the collaboration came to an end.
"I do not regret many things in my career, but that I have not been able to work with Mourinho at Chelsea anymore (is one). We had a team to get a lot of prizes, but we just ended up in a negative spiral.
"If the results are poor, he starts criticising his players – you know that, but afterwards I've been able to accept that, it's part of his character.
"If you win, Mourinho is the best coach you can imagine. Then he is a friend of yours – you can do whatever you want. Want one day off? He gives you two. If everything goes well, Mourinho will experience football like me: with ease. Even his own image of an extremely defensive coach was not too bad. He is far from adventurous like (Pep) Guardiola, but the year in which we became champions, we scored a lot of goals and played good games.
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"If I'm now asked one coach with whom I want to work again, then I say: Mourinho."
Hazard also revealed he sent Mourinho text messages to apologise for his performance in the final weeks of his tenure as Chelsea manager, in comments that may come as something of a surprise.
"In those twelve years of professional career, I have had one bad year – the last six months under Mourinho, and it was partly my own fault," he said.
"After the title (win in 2015), we had asked Mourinho for extra holidays. I was totally out of shape at the start of the season, I remembered that lesson this summer – four weeks after the World Cup I was back in training at Chelsea.
"I sent him a message to say I was sorry he had gone and that I was sorry. We’d enjoyed all that success together, but this time we hadn’t. I felt a little bit guilty because I’d been player of the year. I’d been one of the most decisive players, and then I performed less."