10 Nov Rough treatment dished out by opponents is doing my Eden, says Hazard
Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard is unhappy at the rough treatment doled out by his opponents and admits to feeling the effects.
Hazard missed three games with a back injury and is expected to make his first Premier League start since the October 20 draw with Manchester United when Everton visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
“I am not happy to be fair, but it’s part of football,” Hazard said.
“The referee tries to do his job and I try to do mine. I guess when I am on the floor I can win free-kicks so every free-kick with Chelsea is a chance to score more goals.
“I’m 27 now and starting to get older, so I have to take more care of my body.
“I am feeling the wear and tear. I have been playing football as a professional for more than 10 years now. It is part of the game, I guess.
“I will just start with more treatment and training. I have been doing yoga since I have been at Chelsea.”
Hazard’s Chelsea bosses have previously called for more protection for the Belgium ace from referees.
The forward agrees, but admits officials may be reluctant to penalise challenges made early in matches.
“(For) the referee it’s hard to show a yellow card in the first minute,” Hazard added.
Hazard has been in sparkling form for Chelsea this season, after a summer switch to Real Madrid failed to materialise.
He has scored eight goals this term, with Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri challenging him to reach 40 and show he is one of the world’s best players.
A back injury followed the United draw, seeing Hazard miss three games and returning as a substitute in last Sunday’s win over Crystal Palace.
Hazard returned to the starting line-up in Thursday night’s Europa League win at BATE Borisov, featuring for 62 minutes, but he may not play a full 90 minutes until after the forthcoming international break.
With David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso and Alvaro Morata rested and left in London, it was a surprise to some that Hazard travelled. He had missed the first group game, at PAOK in Greece.
He added: “It was the plan to miss the Salonika game. We have a lot of players who can play in this position so we can rotate a lot. I think the next away game (at Vidi in Hungary in December) some players will rest.”
Hazard did not escape criticism from boss Sarri following a disappointing performance in Belarus, as the Belgian wasted a set-piece. He shrugged off the Italian’s touchline reaction.
Hazard added: “I will do better next time. We are working a lot in training on the free-kicks. I should do better.”
Hazard has previously spoken of his daily quandary over his future, whether to extend his Chelsea contract which expires in June 2020, or seek a “dream” move to Real Madrid.
He did not discuss his future on this occasion, looking only at the opportunities for Chelsea.
The Blues will be seeking to extend their unbeaten start under Sarri to 18 competitive games against the Toffees.
The win over Palace saw Sarri equal Frank Clark’s 1994 record of remaining unbeaten in his first 11 Premier League games; avoid defeat against Everton and Sarri will have the record to himself.
Chelsea’s only loss this season came in the Community Shield to Manchester City and the Blues on Thursday won a fourth Europa League game to advance from Group L with two matches to spare.
Hazard added: “We are in good shape in the Europa League and the Premier League and we want to keep winning.
“Sunday is an important game. We want to keep playing like this, scoring goals and winning like this.”