HAZARD: A GOOD YEAR
Eden Hazard has plenty of reasons to be pleased with his first season in Chelsea blue, and is hoping to do even better second time around.
The Belgian burst onto the Barclays Premier League scene with some eye-catching displays, claiming two assists within six minutes on his league debut against Wigan Athletic last August, and quickly became a key player for both Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez, alongside Juan Mata and Oscar as one of the 'three amigos' behind either Fernando Torres or Demba Ba.
'It was good to win the first game of the season and help score the goals, first with Branislav Ivanovic and then winning the penalty. After that we had a bad run but we finished the season very well.'
'I played a lot of games. I missed three because of my red card in January, and then missed the Europa League final with injury, but apart from that I was always involved, I am happy with my contribution and felt I played well in the season, so it shows it was a good year.'
It was a season that ended with silverware when we won that Europa League final, and despite his absence from that occasion, he looks ahead to the forthcoming pre-season with excitement.
'I settled in quickly with the team during the last pre-season, I really enjoyed the trip to America with people like Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne around. They were good for me, the other Belgians. After that they went on loan but I was feeling at home by then, and when Demba Ba came in January I was there to help him. He speaks French like me, and we are now good friends.
'The first thing to do in the summer, it is important to relax on holiday, and let our bodies recover from the long season.
'Then when we come back for pre-season we have some big trips, and it will be important to train well ahead of the season. If we can have a good pre-season we will go into the competitive games with confidence.
'We have some very good young players, Nathan Ake, Josh McEachran and Romelu Lukaku. I hope they can be involved with the other ones who are young but now also have experience, people like Oscar and Mata, who have learned from the older players like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech.'