Eden Hazard has considered two of the big stories following Chelsea’s win midweek against Brighton, the ongoing race for a top-four place and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s full league debut.
The three points gathered enabled us to climb above Manchester United in the Premier League table into fifth, our highest position for two months, and to remain hard on the heels of Tottenham and Arsenal who both won at home in their most recent game, in Spurs’ case on their first outing in their new stadium.
Hazard feels Chelsea are off the radar for many people when predicting who they think will finish higher, and that suits him…
‘I like that because people are not talking about Chelsea for the top four so we are quiet,’ he explains. ‘We want to take it game by game, we have hard games to play in two or three weeks, against Liverpool away and Man United away, but Chelsea is a top club, we like this challenge so we will go to those teams and try to win games.
‘Tottenham for two or three years are one of the best teams in England, for sure,’ he added. ‘We are Chelsea and it is a big derby, I don’t like that to be fair but we have to accept it and also for the Premier League it is good.
‘They have a new stadium and top players but in the end, at Chelsea we have won a lot of trophies and them not so, and I hope this continues!’
On Hudson-Odoi’s impact against Brighton, which led to the opening goal, Hazard had this to say…
‘He has been waiting to start a game in the Premier League but he is ready, you can see the way he is taking the ball he is playing with a lot of confidence. He is still young and he can improve of course but he is already very good, and I think he was happy to play at Brighton.’
There are of course plenty of similarities between Hudson-Odoi now and the young Hazard, who also became an international in his teenage years, but the senior pro does not feel it is imperative he lectures the emerging talent…
‘We train together but I don’t need to talk to him. If he wants to ask me something I will tell him, no problem, but he is great player already. If he wants advice I can teach but he has everything already.
‘When you are young you just play and you try and sometimes you miss but the good thing is to give some freshness to the team. He has the legs to run for 90 minutes. At 28 we are a bit tired at the end! He is still young, he can still improve but he is in a good team to learn and we also are happy to help him.’
Hazard has had some words though…
‘I told him if he stays humble at first, that is the best thing. Just work in training, score goals and then just be happy on the pitch. He can go very far.
‘At first [when I was young] I was not listening to everything, but then my family helped me to stay humble. For him it is quite easy because of the players he has around him, they are quite humble. If we were all thinking we are the best, it would be quite hard for him to not stay humble. He is intelligent, he has a family that look after him. His time is coming.’