Jose Mourinho insists Eden Hazard will stay on penalty duty for Chelsea and joked his miss in midweek was an advert for the Rugby World Cup.
Mourinho, addressing the media ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime clash against Arsenal, insists Hazard will stay as the Blues’ No 1 spot-kick taker despite skying his sixth-minute effort against Maccabi Tel Aviv in their 4-0 win on Wednesday.
There has been some calls for Hazard to hand over responsibility to Oscar, who showed Hazard how it was done by converting a penalty of his own in the same game, but a defiant Mourinho insisted: “Yes of course. He’ll still take our penalties.”
And Mourinho joked: “Maybe it was an agreement with some sponsor to promote the Rugby World Cup.”
The Blues boss also refused to criticise Hazard’s displays this season and insists the 2014/15 Player of the Season “remains the Premier League’s best player”.
“He’ll soon be a man of the match again.”
Mourinho insists he also retains faith in other under-fire performers with both Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry amongst those whose performances this season have been heavily criticised by the media.
“I have total confidence in them. They remain my men. [With regards Terry]… being on the bench one game doesn’t change anything.
“I have no criticism about the performances of Branislav Ivanovic. I won’t separate individuals from team displays. People can criticise me for my decsions, but not for my relationship with my players. I have zero problems.”
Mourinho on media agenda
The Blues have the worst defensive record in the Premier League having conceded 12 goals already this term, but Mourinho insists confidence has been belittled by the media, who ‘always seem to have an agenda’ after each defeat.
“The media always look for drama when a team loses matches. The reality of this though is the loss of confidence,” he added.
“Normally when bad results happen the first thing that comes into your laptops, iPads and pens is to find a dramatic story: ‘Somebody punch somebody in the dressing room’, ‘The manager doesn’t want to speak with this guy’.
“‘Diego Costa fought with John Terry and before they start the fight they brought a translator for them to understand each other in the fight, because Diego cannot speak English and John cannot speak Spanish’.
“‘They organise like Far West duels – at this time we are going to fight, bring a translator to help us’.
“You (the media) always go in this direction, which is funny. The other direction you don’t go is the direction which is real.
“You lose matches, you are affected, you lose confidence, you don’t want the ball.
“The win over Maccabi was important, though. It wasn’t just three points – it has helped with confidence, especially after the missed penalty. I liked our performance.”
Chelsea were the only English side to win in the Champions League this week, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal all suffering defeats.
Mourinho, however, doesn’t think Saturday’s opponents Arsenal will be affected by their loss in Zagreb.
“I don’t think so. Many of their players were rested or didn’t travel.”
Chelsea will be without the injured Willian in the match, while Pedro and Oscar are amongst the injury doubts.
The Blues will also come across their former player Petr Cech in the match, and Mourinho said of the ex-Blues keeper: “He’s an opponent until the end of the game. After that, if he wants to come to Chelsea dressing room, the door is open.”