Chelsea star Eden Hazard previews Sunday’s Capital One Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur…
Eden Hazard is certainly feeling positive about life at Stamford Bridge. The 24-year-old midfielder has been in exceptional form once again this season, leading his side to the top of the Premier League table and within one game of their first piece of silverware of the season.
Tottenham thrashed the Blues 5-3 at White Hart Lane in January, but Hazard is confident that he and his teammates will not be dwelling on that defeat when they walk out on to the Wembley pitch this weekend.
Hazard, who was quoted by the Independent, said: “It’s true it was a bad day but the first time we met them we won 3-0, so that’s in balance over the two matches. Now we need to win the third match.”
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been full of praise for the Belgian, who has refused to let the tactics of opposition defenders bother him. Earlier this season, he was on the receiving end of a tough challenge by Stoke City’s Phil Bardsley, but when the full-back went down late on, Hazard was the man to kick the ball out so he could receive treatment.
“That’s my mentality,” he admitted. “Just because somebody has fouled me there is no reason for me to be nasty to him. I try to respect football as much as possible and when someone is injured you put the ball out.”
Hazard admits the physicality of the English game is something that he’s found difficult at times, but is convinced that he’s long since got over any early problems.
“I have always thought if there is a game and there have been a lot of fouls on me then I have been playing well for the team, so that means we’re having a good match,” he said. “You can win a free-kick when there’s a foul and that’s a chance to score a goal.
“I have always been small so defenders have always been taller and tougher than me. So that’s difficult for me, they foul me sometimes but there you are – that’s what the rules of the game are for.”
His attitude has certainly been exemplary. As he explains, he’s only been red carded once, in the League Cup match against Swansea City, and prides himself on not reacting to such incidents.
“I don’t see the point in reacting,” he said. “True, it’s a human response but it is the way I have been brought up. I have been used to taking the knocks. The more I take, the happier I am. It always makes me want to outdo them but in a football way and I don’t want to make their life a misery by kicking them. I want to hurt the opponent but in terms of the football.
“That [Swansea] was the only one [red card] – it’s true that I don’t normally get red cards. I am still young. Maybe with age it will come. Maybe I will become more aggressive but I hope not.”
Mourinho has spoken openly about a lack of referee protection for his players this season, but Hazard explains that it’s a problem he’s suffered all around the world.
“I know when I was in France there was a moment when the [Lille] coach Rudi Garcia pointed his finger at refs who should have been protecting me,” Hazard said. “I hope they do try to protect me because they should be protecting the players who are playing the ball. That is the point of it. All we want is that there is a bit of consistency.”