Ahead of our Premier League trip to Liverpool, Eden Hazard has revealed why he and the rest of the Chelsea players are so eager to bring all three points back to west London.
Including that visit to Anfield, there are only five league games left in 2018/19, meaning every fixture is potentially crucial in the tight battle to finish in the top four this season, with six points separating the Blues, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United in the race for the last two Champions League qualification spots.
‘We have five games to play,’ said the Belgian. ‘Of course, it is hard to be in the top four because we are not the only team. Tottenham, Arsenal, Man United, they are good, they all want to be in the top four, so we still have a lot of games to play and not easy games, but at the end we are Chelsea. If we want we can beat anyone, so now we are in the top four and we want to finish there at the end of the season.’
Liverpool are currently involved in their own fight at the top of the table, as they vie with Manchester City for this year’s title. However, while Hazard admires the Reds’ impressive form, he insists his focus is purely on what three points would mean for our own campaign, and not what that result would mean for the trophy’s destination.
‘I think they have been on fire for two years, not just this season, but City, they are there as well,’ he said. ‘They are a fantastic team to watch, I think the manager is great, they have players who are some of the best in the world, so it’s going to be a good game, a hard one, but it’s always hard at Anfield. But we are Chelsea, we can beat anyone, so we will see.
‘We want to win because we want to finish in the top four. We don’t care about who can win the title between City and Liverpool, we want to go there and try to win the game for ourselves.’
The importance of reaching that goal of finishing in the top four is not lost on our number 10, as he feels the Champions League is the rightful home of a club like Chelsea, even if the increasingly competitive nature of the Premier League’s upper reaches means qualification for Europe’s top club competition is getting more difficult all the time.
‘We have to qualify – that’s it, that simple,’ continued Hazard. ‘We want to play in the Champions League next season so the only solution is to be in the top four or win the Europa League.
‘It’s not just about me, the club has to be in the Champions League. We miss the Champions League this season, so for the fans, for the board, for the players, the staff, this club has to be in the Champions League every year. But in the Premier League you never know how many teams can be in the top-four race, six or seven, so it is a hard challenge, but we can do it.
‘Every year is different, every year is hard, but I think the Premier League is getting harder every year. But at the end the target is always the same, to win something and then play Champions League next season.
‘We are Chelsea. Every year we need to start thinking at the beginning of the season that we can have trophies. In the last 10 years we’ve won a lot of trophies, so we need to think we can keep doing it. It’s just about mentality, if we want to win something we can do it.’