Eden Hazard can’t wait to take to the Stamford Bridge pitch again after four weeks, and four games, away from our home turf. Since we beat Fulham 2-0 at the Bridge we have travelled to Swindon, Tottenham, Bucharest and Norwich, picking up three wins and a draw from those away games. A break for international duty has also prolonged our absence.
‘One month is too long,’ Hazard told the official Chelsea website.
‘For the fans and for us it’s better to play at Stamford Bridge. We want to continue from the last game in Norwich when we won 3-1, and I want to score again for the fans at Stamford Bridge to enjoy.’
The Belgian has understandably returned to training at Cobham this week in high spirits after helping his national side book their place at the World Cup in Brazil next summer. Belgium guaranteed their first appearance in the showpiece tournament since 2002 with victory in Croatia last Friday night. The winger is pleased to be heading into our game with Cardiff on the back of such personal success, and hopes to prolong that feel-good factor today.
‘When you lose a game you are always a little bit disappointed, so it’s better to come back from playing with your country after a victory,’ Hazard explains.
‘You want to stay at the top level when you return to your club, keep scoring goals, making assists and winning games.’
It is no surprise that the 22-year-old is being more closely monitored than ever when he is on the pitch, such was the impact that he made on English football in his first year at Chelsea. He knows that he and his fellow playmakers must keep linking up if they are to find those elusive gaps in the opposition defence, starting this afternoon.
‘It’s difficult for me. I need to change something on the pitch, and understand the situation each game. Against three defenders it is different than against one, and obviously more difficult. I need to play more simply, but also more quickly.
‘It’s so great to play with Juan (Mata), with Oscar and with Andre (Schurrle). We have to work together to make playing together easier. When we do that we always make chances and score goals, and we hope to do that again today.’