Jose Mourinho refused to say whether Eden Hazard will return to Chelsea’s starting line-up for Tuesday night’s Champions League Group G clash at Dynamo Kiev.
Mourinho was critical of Hazard, the stand-out performer in last season’s Premier League triumph, after leaving the Belgium playmaker on the substitutes’ bench for last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
And the Blues boss declined to reveal if Hazard, who has been told to up his work rate, will start at the NSK Olimpiysky as Chelsea seek to respond from defeat at Porto in their most recent Champions League game.
“If he plays tomorrow I don’t tell you. The players don’t know,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho has left forwards Pedro and Loic Remy behind due to minor injuries, increasing the likelihood Hazard will return to the starting XI.
The Portuguese was critical of Hazard during his first season back at Stamford Bridge and the desired response followed, with the forward compared favourably with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi when winning individual footballer of the year awards last season.
“I didn’t say he had a better season than Ronaldo,” Mourinho said.
“Last season he won one of the most important titles in football, which is the Premier League, and (he was) absolutely decisive for Chelsea. Last season he had a phenomenal season.”
Asked about Hazard’s response to his comments, Mourinho said: “How did he train? He trained like Eden.”