With three points and the prospect of two potential awards all on his agenda on Sunday, Eden Hazard has been discussing his adaptation to the Barclays Premier League.
Victory against Swansea City would strengthen our pursuit of Champions League football next season, while the 22-year-old could be celebrating tonight with nominations for PFA Player and Young Player of the Year.
Speaking of the differences between England and France, where he was twice voted the league’s best player by his peers, Hazard said: ‘The biggest difference I have found between the football in England and that in France is the intensity.
‘In France, the game can be quiet for spells, maybe five or 10 minutes. But not England. It is intense for 90 minutes. There is no let up for the whole game. There are more physical demands than in France. You just do not get the time.
‘I was very proud to be nominated for two awards, especially in my first season. What is pleasing is that it is the other players who vote for you and that means a lot. That gives me so much pleasure for that to happen. But also I owe a lot to my team-mates. They have helped me so much.
‘It can be hard when you come to a different country, very difficult. But it did not take me long to adapt. I managed to start very well and I fitted into the team quickly
‘After the win in Basel, we now have a great chance of winning the third semi-final in which we have played this year. It hurt to lose the other two. When you lose in the semi-final, it is the hardest to take. But maybe it will be third time lucky.’
In the Capital One Cup semi against Swansea in January, Hazard was dismissed after an altercation with a ballboy. He is hoping for a happier ending this afternoon.
‘We really hoped to win the Capital One Cup but Swansea beat us,’ he said. ‘Now we have the chance for revenge. What is important for Chelsea is to get a Champions League place and if we win, that will obviously help. That is the target for us now in the league.’
Achieving that objective would round off an encouraging debut season on these shores.