Tags Posts tagged with "Eden Hazard"

Eden Hazard

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José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Jose Mourinho looked quite satisfied after the very important victory over Manchester United this evening at Stamford Bridge: now Chelsea are 10 points clear of Arsenal -that are second in the table and today were playing the FA Cup semifinal against Reading, so they got one game in hand too- and next weekend they will face the Gunners at the Emirates, another crucial game on the route to the title.

But today’s win was another step toward it, and the players seemed very happy after the referee blew the final whistle, celebrating in the end of the pitch, so Mourinho was immediately asked about this in his post-match press conference, and he explained:

The celebrations were because we beat one of the biggest teams in the world: I understand that. The players gave everything to win the game and they felt the result of the work they’d done all week to prepare

The team were fantastic. I’m the one that knows how fantastic they were because the game was exactly what we wanted. When you manage to play the game you want to play, it’s fantastic. The players were magnificent, on top of that Eden had that magic the top players have, especially in big matches

Obviously he was fundamental  for us but Cahill made an amazing block on Falcao, John Terry was amazing, the keeper was there for us all the time, Azpilicueta was for me the best player on the pitch and Ivanovic was fantastic. Matic worked like an animal, Zouma put Fellaini out of the game, our number 11 [Drogba] was another animal, fighting against two kids young enough to be his sons. Hazard was what you know, Oscar worked fantastically well, Ramires came in and gave us what we needed, Mikel came in for two minutes and held the ball”

Mourinho revealed Willian had been ill for the two days leading up to the game

Willian coming on was a bonus I wanted to give him, he’s been in bed for two days and today he came straight from his house, making himself available to give us some help, he was fantastic

Then Mourinho spoke about the next two games, that Chelsea will play away from Stamford Bridge ( Arsenal and Leicester)

It’s three more points. Obviously every point we get now, every victory we get, is one step in the title direction

We need to win matches. What we can say is that we play for nine points at home, we can be champions just from the matches we play at home. But obviously if we can get points away it’s better’.

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CHELSEA v MANCHESTER UNITED - Eden Hazard celebrating after scoring the victory goal. © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea are just two wins away from winning the Premier League after beating Manchester United 1-0 in one of the most tense matches to be played at Stamford Bridge this season.

Needing a win to all but ensure the Premiership title, Chelsea started the game quickly, putting pressure on the visitors and pressing high up the pitch when without the ball. Chelsea old boy Juan Mata was especially targeted and surrounded by those in blue. Despite that it was Manchester United who created the first chance on goal- Young found space in behind the Chelsea defence and pulled the ball back for Wayne Rooney whose left-footed shot was so close to Courtois’ right post the United fans at the far end of the ground thought it was a goal, as did David de Gea, to the great amusement of the home fans.

Following on from the first two minutes, it was Manchester United that settled into their game the quickest- putting together a series of good passing moves while Chelsea appeared happy to sit back in their half and counter-attack when they had the chance. One such incident perhaps emphasised the futility of relying on a 37-year-old in the centre-forward postion; Drogba received the ball on the left hand side and only needed to play a simple ball through the middle to Hazard who would have been clear on goal, but the pass was weak and easily collected by Chris Smalling.

Chelsea’s biggest weakness, or so it appeared, was on the wing. The usual problem of playing too narrow was once again evident, the Blues’ attacks being forced into bottle-necks that were easily dealt with by the visitors’ makeshift centre-back pairing. United, however, were able to make constructive use of the Mata and Young and either side, with Shaw and Herrera the overlapping full-backs. Chelsea biggest threat was from set-pieces, a corner just before the half hour forcing de Gea into punching the ball away and causing general confusion in the United back line. De Gea was perhaps lucky to avoid punishment when he appeared to handle a long ball with his hand when McNair, one of the United centre-backs, was caught out of position, the Chelsea fans all rising to their feet in protest, the Spaniard benefiting from the fact that Valencia was so close to him therefore blocking the official’s view.

However, against the pattern of the game Chelsea took the lead in the 38th minute when Hazard ran on from the superb back-heel flick from Oscar, who had received the ball from Fabregas in the United half, and put the ball between de Gea’s legs from six yards as Chelsea showed, as they did last week, their ability to score goals when they are not dominating the game. United forced a corner but did not threaten Courtois’ goal which, despite their possession, could be said of the first half performance generally.

Chelsea started the second half by getting forward, Hazard’s trickery once again proving troublesome but Drogba couldn’t make anything of collecting the ball in the box. When Man Utd had the ball, Chelsea continued in their habit of sitting back, but it appeared to be without being pulled all over the pitch as they were at times in the first half. Wayne Rooney, Utd’s chief attacking outlet, was surrounded when he collected the ball deeply, as he did regularly. Chelsea’s renewed potency on the counter-attack was on display when Herrera lost the ball in the middle and Drogba was let loose with just one defender between him an the goal. It was the sort of incident that five years Drogba would have exploited, but being in his late 30s the Ivorian was only able to force a save from de Gea from which Hazard was unable to convert rebound.

Man Utd’s biggest threat remained down the wing, in particular the left from which Shaw was able to effectively get behind the Chelsea back line a number of times, on one occasions winning a free kick when all Ivanovic could do was bring him down. A cross soon after was chested down by Fellaini and passed back to Rooney, the shot from whom was deflected wide. For their part, Chelsea were happy to ply their attack through the speed of Hazard and the hard work of Drogba. The Belgian had a shot on goal as the game moved beyond the 70th minute, but the pass from Azpilicueta was behind him meaning the shot lacked power. Manchester United tried to apply new pace into their efforts by bringing on Januzaj and Di Maria and Chelsea looked to strengthen further by swapping Oscar for Ramires. Falcao was the recipient of Utd’d first chance in the box when he ran from a ball in behind but could only hit the post from a tight angle.

Wayne Rooney missed a great chance from a Di Maria’s corner in the 82nd minute as Chelsea suddenly appeared vulnerable from set pieces, the free header mercifully going over. Hererrea was booked for a terrible dive in the final minute of stoppage time and when Courtois took the corresponding free kick the final whistle was blown and Chelsea had taken a massive step towards regaining the Premier League title. They will have chance to win the league away at Leicester should they beat Arsenal next week.


CHELSEA: Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta, Zouma, Matic, Oscar (Ramires 67), Fabregas (Mikel 92), Hazard (Willian 94), Drogba.

Unused subs: Cech, Filipe Luis, Cuadrado,  Solanke.


MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, McNair, Shaw (Blackett 80), Mata (Janujaz 70), Rooney, Herrera, Young (Di Maria 70), Fellaini, Falcao.

Unused subs: Valdes, Rafael, Pereira, van Persie.

Scorer: Hazard 38

Ref: Mike Dean
Att: 41,422

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Ex Chelsea manager José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

José Mourinho share his feelings before Man United clash with Chelsea TV, speaking also about his friendship with Louis Van Gaal – they worked together for three years at FC Barcelona in the 90’s-  about the title race and about PFA Award and Hazard’s evolution as a player

“Chelsea v Man United is one of the biggest games in Europe, not the biggest one but it’s big, and we like it, the players like it, everybody wants to play, everybody is happy to play…so it’s one of these days that you want to come”

“During the game I don’t even remember that Van Gaal and me are friends, unless he’s there in the technical area, that usually doesn’t happen because Louis normally stays in the bench and sends the assistant to communicate with the team…so I won’t be friend with him during the match, I will forget” (he laughs)

“I don’t know if they’re fighting for the title or if they’re fighting to keep the distance to the fourth but it doesn’t matter, but I know they will try to win: or to be champions or to keep the distance to the fourth, so I think they will try to win the game”

“About the title race: when I keep my feet on the ground I see that it’s easier for the people that work with me to follow me, so the players know that in football only mathematics make the final decision and we need 11 points. So when people say ‘we’re almost there, we’re almost there’ there’s no almost, we need 11 points, not 10, we need 11″

“About Courtois, Diego Costa and Hazard being nominated for the PFA Award…to be honest…I’m not worried with that, and I guess also the players, to be honest….for them it’s just a detail: the main thing is to win the title, it’s to win the Premier League, that’s the main thing. If we win that, and in the end, in the top of that, we have some good news…that’s good”

“If you compare Eden Hazard today and Eden Hazard three years ago…if every player has this kind of development is fantastic: not all of them are able to grow up with such a stability as he’s doing but when you have talent and the players have time to work you can expect better things”

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Mourinho Van Gaal Old Trafford 2014
Mourinho and Van Gaal at Old Trafford in October 2014 © Francesca Ceciarini

Here is Jose Mourinho’s press conference ahead of Manchester United clash at Stamford Bridge.

To play Man United is to play against one of the best club in the world and against one of the best teams on the PL: it’s what everybody wants and this week I don’t need to motivate my players, it’s an easy job.

“It’s hard to have always the same motivation, the same ambitions…but the reality is these matches are the easy ones, those are the games everybody likes.

“For me chances are 50/50.

Diego Costa is progressing very well and I think he got a chance for the next weekend, our target was Diego to play the last four matches, Arsenal is the sixth match before the end, so if he doesn’t play there is ok…now he’s training alone, in the next week he will train with the rest of the squad.

Hazard is very consistent: one thing is to have talent, but not everyone is able to bring talent to the game, and in my opinion he’s very consistent. He wants to win the Premier League, not the PFA or something like that, but if we win the League and in the top of that he wins also the PFA is good, especially if the award it’s something that comes from fellow players.

“Who is the Manager of the Year for me? I don’t know. Can I win it? I’m the last one who can win it, I never one the Manager of the Month so how I can win the Manager of the Year.

Van Gaal is a very good coach, a very good friend. I don’t know where is he going, the only thing I know is not going to Chelsea for sure, he told me personally, so I’m calm.

Top of the League since day one [I think] is something that people in this country doesn’t like: I think everybody here would like a scenario like the Championship, where you don’t know who will be promoted or will play the playoffs and there are six-seven teams involved, I know this would be the ideal one but we’re trying to do everything to be champions.

“Tomorrow at 7.30 we know the difference between us and Man United, I don’t like the ‘what if’.

I want to win, it’s the way I approach the game.

“Every week when I enter my office in the beginning of the week I have a panel with the squad of the next game…this week I entered and it’s when I realized their squad is amazing in numbers, experience, solutions...it’s amazing. This week when I looked at their squad I realized what they have, they’re good in every section, even in the defense where they have some injuries, but I know Van Gaal very well and I know he’s fantastic in developing kids, and he gave them a lot of space.

“I went to QPR with Drogba and no strikers of the bench, and we had to cope with injuries and suspensions, I don’t forget when you decided the players that had to be suspended- and I know Van Gaal very well, he knows we have a great squad.

“I consider Van Gaal a very very big friend, despite we went to work in different countries  this feeling of being big friends never changed.

They’re fighting for the title, it’s the feeling they have, the feeling their players have…they’re already fighting for the title.”

About Cuadrado: “It’s different to play in Italy and England, it’s different to play for Fiorentina or for Chelsea, a players needs time, I will give him time…the pressure is different…step by step he will have his time. I think he can have a fantastic season next season”

“The safest option [to win the League] is to win and make 11 points.

I have no thoughts about Mata coming back to Stamford Bridge, or my thoughts don’t count: he’s a very correct boy, top professional…everybody in this club have a nice opinion about him, he gave a lot to this club and wished him luck when he left.

What is in my mind is how to win 3 points tomorrow: we know it’s difficult, after the result you will see what happen. We try to think match after match.

Oscar will stay at Chelsea next season, of course. He just signed a contract, two months ago, he’s 23 and he’s in the best period of his career, obviously we don’t want to sell him.

Bamford is a Middlesbrough player until the end of the season, and all this season is very important for his development, it’s the only thing that matters.”


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MOURINHO © Francesca Ceciarini

José Mourinho shared his thoughts about his team’s condition before the important derby with QPR at Loftus Road in an interview Chelsea official website.

The Chelsea manager focused especially on striker Loic Remy, a player that has been doing particularly well in recent games. The Frenchman has scored the winning goals against Hull City and Stoke City, but didn’t start the season as a regular. However, when his moment arrived he was always decisive:

That is because he works fantastically well even when he is not playing.

Even week after week when he was on the bench and Diego was starting matches, he pushed himself always to the limits to be in condition to answer when the right moment arrived.

“Some players when they are not playing, the level of focus and commitment and training goes down, so after that when the team needs them they are not there for the team.

Remy is a professional with a great profile, every time working very hard and when he was playing, whether scoring or not scoring, he was always there for the team. Now he has scored two goals in two matches and he makes some important points.

“I like him because he can score goals and that is important for a striker but at the same time, his movement is always good and when the team is not in possession, he knows it is better when the team defends with 10 players and he has that contribution.

Also when you build the squad, if a player can play in more than one position that is a plus and he can play also wide on the right or wide on the left.

“Since day one when we spoke and Remy was at QPR, he knew we needed a top squad to try to win trophies and he was ready for this new situation in his career which is not to be a clear first-choice.

“He didn’t come as a number two. He came knowing that we have a squad with important players and cannot guarantee positions. This is not being a number two. Diego did well enough when he was playing to keep his position, but who knows, if in the next matches Remy performs very well, maybe he makes the situation difficult for Diego when he comes back.”

Mourinho also spoke about Didier Drogba’s future, since the Ivorian signed a one-year-contract last summer in what is his second spell at the Blues.

We have to think and speak and find out what he wants but that is not a problem.

“I like what he likes. There are people during their career who earn the right and power to make decisions and not wait for others to make decisions for them, and that puts him in a great position.”

With regard to Eden Hazard and the continuing debate over the Belgian’s chances of being named Player of the Year, he stated:

With what he is doing there shouldn’t even be a debate.

‘If somebody throws other names onto the table, it is because they want to sell newspapers or want clicks on links, or want to throw some sand into the eyes of the people because he has been by far the best player in the Premier League all season.”

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Hazard has been integral in Chelsea's title-winning season. © Francesca Ceciarini

After Chelsea’s 2-1 Premier League victory against Stoke City, Eden Hazard spoke to the official Chelsea website about the hard fought win at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgian midfielder scored the first and set up the other of Chelsea’s goals, either side of an outstanding goal from Stoke’s Charlie Adam. With there being only a few games left of the 2014-15 Premier League season, Hazard said:

“It’s always difficult when you go away with the national team and come back.”

“Stoke are a very good team with some good players. We did very well, the score was 2-1 but it could have been more, especially in the first half because we created a lot of chances.”

“When we went back in the dressing room at 1-1 it wasn’t good because we’d had a lot of chances and possession but only scored one goal, so there was some frustration.”

“We now have eight games in which to win the title and we want to be at the top of the league at the end of the season.”

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Ex Chelsea manager José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Chelsea manager José Mourinho gave an interview to Chelsea official website to analyse the situation of his team in the title race, with only the last crucial matches remaining:

“We believe in ourselves. We have strong mentalities. We try to cope with the difficult moments we have during the whole season. This is a difficult moment but it’s a difficult moment that we can handle in the best possible way. We are ready to play, we are ready to fight, to suffer together.

‘We are ready for everything, so really we believe in ourselves, and we believe that the most difficult job is the job of the others that come from behind, because the others, if they draw one game, they are in trouble. They have to win every game so it’s more difficult for them than for us.

Mourinho also explained that he avoided the rotation of the two midfielders for a matter of stability:

“For me football is not just mathematics, and when some people write that  Fabregas has dropped his level because the number of assists are not the same, the number of assists are probably not the same because the player that he assists doesn’t score.

“I think he’s playing wonderfully well for us. I never had doubts about his importance for us in the team, and Matic, he was suspended, and after the suspension he was injured celebrating in the final, so he went back and he was not in the best condition.”

“He went back, he was out for two or three weeks so it takes time, but I always think stability is very important in a team, and it’s not in April that you are going to make important changes in the team. April is a moment of stability and obviously I keep faith in the people that I trust from the beginning of the season.”

Mourinho also took time to praise Loic Remy, that scored very important goals in this season, especially in the last two games:

“He’s a striker, every striker has this in them, so when Eden recovered the ball you could see immediately he sprinted to score what I call an easy goal, but I love strikers to score easy goals. The tap-in when the goalkeeper has an incomplete save, attack the ball in a low cross, rebounds – I love the easy goals from a striker, so I’m really happy with him.”

“He trains fantastically well. He keeps himself in great condition to come to matches, even without many, many minutes to be ready for us, so I’m really pleased and everybody’s pleased for him. He’s a great boy and his contribution for us is already crucial with these two match-winners in the last two matches.”

Then a look to next game, the derby at Loftus Road next Saturday:

“I’ve never played at QPR as a Chelsea manage, but I know history and I know that for QPR to play against Chelsea is a special match.”

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Chelsea could of won the title if they had won today and beaten Leicester on Wednesday

After Chelsea took yet another step to securing the Premier League title, manager Jose Mourinho has spoken after his side’s 2-1 win over Stoke at Stamford Bridge.

“The importance (of the win) was obvious. We started the game with the need of six victories and one draw to be Champions. Now we need five victories and one draw, so it’s a massive victory for us.”

“I think it (the win) was difficult but deserved. I think in the first half we controlled the game. We scored a goal in a great combination. Nobody would expect that the first shot they had, they score a goal.”

“We changed things, we tried to change. We went to two strikers, to try to have more presence in a very well organised defensive block, and after that with Diego (Costa’s) injury and Didier (Drogba’s) presence in the box, it was better to give width and depth and speed with (Juan) Cuadrado, so we tried everything, we score, we deserved to win.”

When asked whether performance or result was of a higher priority, the Portuguese man knows what comes first at this stage of the season:

“The performance is what you have during the beginning of the season and what puts you in position to be Champion, we have been there since the first day because of the quality we have shown since the beginning of the season. But in the end we are very very happy with the three points.

Goals from Eden Hazard and Loic Remy were enough to seal the points for the Blues, despite a stunning strike from Stoke’s Charlie Adam – a goal which Mourinho was quick to praise:

“It was a fantastic goal. It’s one of the goals that every super player in the world would like to score. It’s a magnificent goal, but I think when my goalkeeper plays in the limit of the box, he has to read the game. He has to know the quality of the opponent, and we know and we work a lot on that. Charlie Adam is a player that we know is strong, so normally he (Courtois) should anticipate immediately the moment we lost the ball, but it’s a very good goal.”

Despite the win, there was some bad news for Chelsea. Spanish striker Diego Costa, who started the game on bench due to injury, came on at half-time. However, just ten minutes later, he hobbled off injured again. But, Mourinho defended his decision to bring Costa on:

“In football we need risk. I take risks sometimes. As a manager when I am, like at half-time, with a result I don’t like, I risk in the second half. I play more offensive. You have to risk. The medical department risked a little bit. But the player (Diego Costa) trained twice – and trained twice 100%. He did much more in training than he did today. My medical department is fantastic, so there is no problem. We will wait for Diego again and the important thing is the three points today.”

“He (Costa) will be out for a couple of weeks minimum, but lets see what happens. But the most important thing is the three points.”

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Chelsea manager José Mourinho © Francesca Ceciarini

Here is José Mourinho’s press conference ahead of Chelsea’s game on Saturday against Stoke City:

“I trained with a few players in the international break and I was waiting for the other ones to come back, they came back some on Sunday, some on Monday, some on Tuesday or Wednesday…”

In this moment I have no inujuries, Mikel is not selected, he’s fine, working all week with the group, he’s tired so he’s not selected. Diego trained yesterday and today with the group, he’s not injured, I don’t know if I will play him or not.

“Mikel is tired because he had a surgery and trained one month alone, he worked with the physios, and then four days with the group, so he’s tired, he needs to adapt again. Hazard is tired because he travelled with Belgium and played two games, but he recovered in the last couple of days and he will start tomorrow.”

“This is football, it’s a season for a player [Hazard] that is very important for his club and his national team: he’s a player I always want to play, and his coach in the national team too, because he plays with the ball, he’s creative…I believe in his desire to play and help the team to reach season objectives.

“Yesterday training session was a good one, was an intense one…I played also an important role, they needed my presence and I lost my voice.”

“Only Hazard, Courtois and Fabregas played on Tuesday, the others were on the bench, the others trained so hard and so well that I’m confident for tomorrow.”

“The teams between second and fifth position in the table are very close, and they are there for a reason.”

“We need six victories and one draw in nine matches [to win the title], it’s a good situation for us, it’s pure mathematics.”

“It’s too early now but if we are champions in the last match I’m more than happy, so every victory we have from now on is a victory less we need and it’s a chance less for our opponent to reach us.

“I don’t care when we win the title, I just want to win it. Our last match of the season is at home, so if we win we get the trophy in our stadium like is the PL tradition.I don’t mind about the trophy: someone can also lose it… what I want is to win the Premier League.”

The fans are the most important thing, because they are the ones that make football industry work, if we have to play at 10am for them we play at 10am. If they want more matches at 3 pm, we try to do that.”

“I just work with the rules that are presented to me: I have no power, my opinion doesn’t change the decision, in this moment I know I have to work with 8 English players in my squad,  I do that…if one day I have to work with 3-4 I will do that. It’s the same of FPF, I don’t have to give my opinion, I have to work with the rules.”

Diego [Costa] had no days off for his injury, as well as medical department, we had tests and scans to confirm the situation [hamstring injury] and now the muscle is fine but football is more than that, you need confidence to be free to express the maximum you can.

Diego worked like he did all the season, we don’t believe in operations, our medical department and me believe that operation is the last decision, we always try the conservative way, I never go the surgery direction.”

“Yesterday I shouted in training because we did tactical exercises, things they needed to do well..and maybe because my voice was so quiet in the last couple of weeks I lost it.”

Stoke is a difficult team, everybody knows the way the play, that’s why they are where they are, no problem to stay in the PL, they’re very stable, also the manager, everybody knows the way they play, but it’s not easy for everyone.

“I knew John Terry was going to renew, so it was not a big emotion for me, this was the good moment to do it public, to sign it, two months before the end of the season, so everybody know he’s staying.”


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