Mourinho praised Hazard despite penalty miss.
José Mourinho hailed Eden Hazard’s performance against Maribor, despite the winger’s missed penalty and Chelsea’s poor result.
The Belgian missed a late spot-kick which condemned the Blues to a draw, and Mourinho was asked how he felt about the crucial miss:
“When a player plays so well like Eden Hazard did for me was absolutely fantastic, by far the best player of my team,” ITV quoted Mourinho as saying.
“A player with a performance like this can miss a penalty and still be the best player in my team.”
It was Hazard who had won the penalty in the first place, with a trademark twist and swerve in the box that left a Maribor defender no choice but to bring him down.
The winger’s unique penalty technique, which has been so successful for him so far, finally let him down and the ‘keeper saved his tame effort.
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Mourinho was right to praise his star player, who constantly took the fight to Maribor when the rest of the team looked lethargic and static.
When the Belgian stepped up to take the penalty he was breathing hard, the exertions of dragging the rest of the team to his level clearly taking their toll.
The West Londoners’ manager will not be happy with the game or the result. Not only did they miss out on the chance to qualify last night, the game also turned into a stressful and tiring affair.
With Saturday’s early kickoff at Anfield with Liverpool looming, Mourinho would have loved the opportunity to take his stars off with the game sewn up.
Instead he is left with a tired, dispirited squad, and faces a big task to lift them for another test on the weekend.