Eden Hazard says the team are fully behind Maurizio Sarri, and working hard together, ahead of a big Premier League game against Tottenham tonight.
The Blues will be aiming to get the better of the north Londoners at Stamford Bridge for the second time this season after winning 2-1 in the second leg of our Carabao Cup semi-final, a game in which Hazard scored,, as well as reducing the gap between the teams in the Premier League table, when we meet under the lights in SW6 this evening.
Sarri’s side performed well in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City, but having eventually suffered disappointment after losing on penalties we will be looking to bounce back quickly tonight.
‘We are all together,’ said Hazard. ‘We are all with the manager. I know this month was a bit hard but we need to be together, stay together, if we want to do something at the end of the season.
‘At the moment we have a bit of pressure because the fans want us to be in the top four, but we’re Chelsea and we can deal with the pressure. We will win games and that’s it.
‘We are there. This is a hard game but we can close the gap a bit on Tottenham. We have the potential to be in the top four but we don’t have to think about that. We just have to think game after game and try to win one more game.
‘We are playing for him [Sarri], the club, the fans and us. It’s not just about the manager. He puts the players on the pitch and then it’s down to the players to take responsibility. On Sunday we played a fantastic game, we need to look at that and try to repeat it. Then the manager will be happy.’
We have already met Tottenham, who were beaten in the Premier League at the weekend, on three separate occasions this season, and having been a Chelsea player since 2012, the Belgian is well aware what this particular fixture means to our supporters.
‘It’s a derby, a good game, the fans are waiting for this game,’ Hazard said. ‘They lost their last game at Burnley, we lost the final, so now we just want to win. I expect a tough game because it’s always hard to play against them. We lost last season at Stamford Bridge after 28 years, so I expect a tough game but with good energy, and let’s hope for a Chelsea win.
‘If we can play like we want, like the manager wants, and get a good result, it will be good for the rest of the season.’
Hazard was deployed as the central striker in Sunday’s game against Man City, with positive results, but he will have no problem returning to his natural position out wide this evening if Sarri chooses to use either Gonzalo Higuain or Olivier Giroud as the focal point of our attack.
‘He is a top striker,’ said Hazard, when asked about Higuain’s qualities. ‘If we talk about how many goals he’s scored, he’s only got two with Chelsea, but you can see around the training ground he’s very intelligent. He’s not talking English a lot but he’s talking to the Spanish guys and Italian guys, and he also knows how the manager wants to play, so for us it’s great to have him in the team.
‘I always say I need a great striker. When Olivier is playing it’s important for me, when Gonzalo is playing it’s important for me. What I want is for them to score goals, that’s it.
‘We have a lot of intensity and when we have the ball we try to be in control of the game. I know the fans want us to go forward and try to find space between the lines but we try.
‘Sometimes we play against compact teams so it’s hard to find solutions. I like the football we are trying to play, with and without the ball, so it can still be a good season.’
- You can follow tonight's game via the 5th Stand app