Chelsea's José Mourinho: Eden Hazard does not sacrifice himself for the team
Chelsea's Eden Hazard reacts after missing a chance in the Champions League defeat against Atlético Madrid. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP
José Mourinho has lamented Eden Hazard's error in Chelsea's Champions League elimination but has no qualms with the Belgian's comments following the midweek exit to Atlético Madrid. Hazard, one of Chelsea's best players for much of the season, failed to track back to allow Atlético to equalise in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg and later said the Blues are set up to counterattack, not to take the initiative in games.
The comments were interpreted as a slight on Mourinho's tactics, which have been criticised of late, and coming from a player linked with Paris Saint-Germain this summer led to speculation over his future.
“I listened to the interview,” said Mourinho, whose side lost 3-1 to Atlético and play Norwich in the Premier League on Sunday. “There was nothing critical in what he said. When the comments come from a player like Eden it's normal because he's not the kind of player to sacrifice himself for the team. Normally you get these kind of comments from players like him, from players that can't resolve a problem like we had in the first goal.
“Eden is the kind of player that is not so mentally ready to look back to his left-back and to leave his life for him. If you see the first goal of Atlético you completely understand where the mistake was and why we conceded that goal. The perfect team at the top level cannot make these kinds of mistakes.”
Willian and André Schürrle performed selflessly on the left in Madrid and in the win at Liverpool, respectively, but Hazard's error on his return from a calf injury was costly. Adrián's equaliser eight minutes after Fernando Torres had put Chelsea in front gave Atlético a crucial away goal and Mourinho's men could not respond.
“Normally in this game if you go to half-time winning 1-0 the game is another game because Atlético has to chase the game,” Mourinho said.
Hazard has been praised for his defensive duties this term, but Mourinho insists he still has work to do. “I'm not happy,” Mourinho said. “I speak all season and I try to improve him all season.”
Guardian of London