Hazard helped by ‘understanding’ with new Chelsea team-mates
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo says Eden Hazard has settled in quickly thanks to his natural connection with his new team-mates
Roberto Di Matteo believes the apparent speed at which Eden Hazard has slotted into the Chelsea first-team is largely thanks to a natural understanding with his new team-mates.
The 21-year-old Belgian has already made four assists and netted three goals in three games to help the Blues top the Premier League table.
The Chelsea coach admits he has been thrilled by the instant impact Hazard has made at Stamford Bridge but says he has been helped to settle in by his club-mates.
“He’s brought a lot of creativity and different options to us but I don’t think he’s just the only one,” said Di Matteo. “His link-up with Juan Mata and the other midfielder players [has been good], we’ve seen that they have a very good understanding.
“The impact he has had in our team has certainly been extremely positive this season but I think it’s also thanks to the rest of the team that he’s been able to settle in very smoothly.”
Di Matteo’s side are aiming to claim their first piece of silverware this season as they take on Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup in Monaco on Friday night.
And the Italian, who was part of the Chelsea side who lifted the same trophy 14 years ago after a 1-0 win over Real Madrid, is determined to help the Blues claim the title again.
“I think Atletico Madrid is a very good team,” he said. “Obviously, they won the Europa League last season and started the season off in a good fashion again.
“I’ve seen both their games and they have a good team with a lot of quality and talented football players, with a good coach. We’re going to face a challenge on Friday and hopefully we can bring the trophy home after 14 years.”
Di Matteo led Chelsea to their first-ever Champions League crown with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Bayern Munich in the final back in May.
And the 42-year-old has told his players to remember how they “suffered” en route to lifting European football’s top trophy when they line up in Monaco on Friday night.
“The consequence of that night is why we’re here,” he added. “We shouldn’t forget how hard it was to get here. It was a long road, a very difficult road, and we suffered a lot to be able to win it, to be able to play in this game and be involved in a European Super Cup.
“It’s a European trophy, I feel very strongly about it and hopefully we can win the game.
“It will be nice for us to be able to continue this positive start to the season that we’ve had.”
Di Matteo also moved to dismiss speculation linking the Blues with a swoop for Atletico striker Radamel Falcao – although the Italian is a keen admirer of the Colombian striker.
He said: “No we are not [interested in signing Falcao]. I have seen him a lot and I think he’s a superb player. I watched him when he was still at Porto and then last season. I think he’s certainly one of the best strikers in the world after Fernando [Torres] and I think he’ll be a big threat for us on Friday night.”