Jose Mourinho: Why I dropped Eden Hazard for Chelsea v Aston Villa
Jose Mourinho lifts the lid on his decision to relegate Eden Hazard to the bench for Chelsea win over Aston Villa
Jose Mourinho has insisted that his decision to drop Eden Hazard to the bench for Chelsea’s clash with Aston Villa on Saturday was purely tactical.
The Portuguese coach raised eyebrows when he opted to leave the PFA player of the year on the bench along with midfielder Nemanja Matic and Oscar.
It marked the first time since April 2014 that Hazard had not started a league game for the west London club, with the Belgian playmaker featuring for the final seven minutes.
However, Mourinho was quick to play down the significance of his decision when quizzed about it after his side’s 2-0 win over Villa in west London.
Mourinho told his post-match news conference: “I left Hazard out because we are conceding lots of goals. We need to defend better.
“We need our midfield players to be just worried about the central area of the pitch, not to be worried about compensating for the left side or the right side.
“It was just a tactical decision, leaving super quality on the bench but bringing tactical discipline and hoping that the team could be solid.
“I continue in that way or he [Hazard] comes in our direction and tries to replicate the same work Willian or Pedro did.”
He continued: “I told the players this is not the moment to think about themselves, to moan, to try to be selfish in their approach – this is the moment for the team, just the team and nothing else.
“I asked them exactly that: to look at the picture in a different way to a normal situation, to look at a picture where I have to try to make decisions to bring results back, and when the results are back and we have better stability in our confidence levels, then go back to what you are.”
Diego Costa broke the deadlock in the 34th minute at Stamford Bridge and doubled their lead when Villa’s Alan Hutton deflected in the Brazilian’s shot early in the second half.
The win lifted Chelsea up to 12th place in the Premier League table, but the Blues still remain 10 points behind leaders Manchester City.