Chelsea workhorse Hazard earns Conte praise

Date published: Saturday 5th November 2016 9:52

Eden Hazard: "Fantastic without the ball," says Conte

Eden Hazard’s bagged a brace in Chelsea’s victory against Everton on Saturday, but it was his work rate that caught boss Antonio Conte’s eye.

Chelsea have moved to the top of the Premier League following their emphatic 5-0 win in which Hazard had a hand in all of his side’s goals.

Hazard, who has now scored five times in his last four league outings, has been inspirational in the Blues’ impressive run of five consecutive victories.

Indeed the Belgium international’s form is a far cry from last season. After being crowned the best player in the Premier League in 2015, Hazard appeared to lose his way under former boss Jose Mourinho, faced accusations of being unfit, and had to wait until April to register his first league strike.

“Eden is playing great football, fantastic football and is showing his talent with all of the Chelsea players,” Conte said.

“The most important thing I am seeing is that Eden is fantastic with the ball, but he is fantastic without the ball, too. He is working very hard for the team.

“When the team-mates see the strikers with this type of commitment – when they don’t have the ball – I am satisfied, pleased and I hope for it to continue.”

Hazard opened the scoring after 18 minutes at Stamford Bridge before Marcos Alonso scored his first Chelsea goal moments later.

Diego Costa made it three shortly before the interval with Hazard doubling his tally in the second half and Pedro completing the rout by scoring his side’s fifth goal after 65 minutes.

It was a crushing display from an in-form Chelsea side, who have now scored 16 goals without conceding from their last five league matches.

“We don’t want to send a message to the other teams, but it is important to send a message to ourselves,” Conte added.

“I am pleased for my players because It is important to win, but when you win in this way and play good football with the good intensity, with the ball and without the ball, it is great.

“It is important now that if you look at the title and tonight you can see that you are top of the table. Tomorrow can probably change the situation, but today it was important to win, to improve, to play good football, and to bring on the pitch our principles that we are working very hard. If for five games in a row you don’t concede a goal you can be satisfied.”

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