Hazard: Big impact at the Big House

Eden Hazard impressed with a brace on his first outing of the 2016/17 pre-season campaign and is hoping for more memorable moments as we approach the end of our US tour.

The Belgian playmaker was introduced to the action with 26 minutes remaining and the score at 3-0, but brought us back into touching distance with two near-identical goals, racing onto through balls, rounding the keeper and slotting home with a composed left-footed finish.

It wasn’t enough to snatch a result in front of a Chelsea record 105,826 crowd at the Big House, but provided a morale boost following a tough first half.

‘I scored two goals so I was happy with that and it was good to be back on the field,’ Hazard said afterwards. ‘It was good but not good enough to win the game. It’s pre-season though and we hope to be ready for the first Premier League game against West Ham.

‘I hope I can start the game against AC Milan on Wednesday but my objective is the first game against West Ham so I have to go step by step, I don’t want to go out like a crazy man and play 90 minutes but then get injured again.’

As one of the Blues’ most recognisable figures, Hazard received a rapturous welcome from the crowd on Saturday, both on his emergence from the tunnel when the team inspected the pitch and on his entry into the action.

‘The stadium was full, it’s always very exciting to play in a stadium with a lot of people and it was an incredible atmosphere,’ said the 25-year-old.

‘We play football for this, for the fans, we want to show the fans how good we are and without them we are nothing. They deserve a lot of respect for all the support they give.

‘So far America has been fantastic. We didn’t get to enjoy Michigan the same as LA because we had only one night, but LA was very good and I hope one day I’ll be able to come back here to Michigan.’

On Sunday, having moved back west to Minneapolis and following the morning's training session, Hazard joined Asmir Begovic, Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas in attending a baseball game at nearby Target Field. They watched a win for the locals too, as the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox.