Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has claimed that he left out Eden Hazard from Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa because of the winger’s inability to defend.
The Belgium star did not start a league game for Chelsea for the first time since April 2014.
“I left Hazard out because we are conceding lots of goals. We need to defend better,” Mourinho told Chelsea’s official website.
“We need our midfield players to be just worried about the central area of the pitch, not to be worried about compensating for the left side or the right side.
“Playing with Pedro and Willian, the midfield players don’t have to look to the left or the right. Willian and Pedro did amazing defensive work on very good offensive players, Hutton and Richardson, and later Amavi. They allowed the midfield players to be very comfortable, and to have performances like Ramires and Fabregas had, totally controlling the centre of the pitch.
“It was just a tactical decision leaving super quality on the bench but bringing tactical discipline and hoping that the team could be solid. I continue in that way or he [Hazard] comes in our direction and tries to replicate the same work Willian or Pedro did.”
Mourinho said he had not spoken to Hazard about why he did not start.
“I told the players this is not the moment to think about themselves, to moan, to try to be selfish in their approach – this is the moment for the team, just the team and nothing else. I asked them exactly that: to look at the picture in a different way to a normal situation, to look at a picture where I have to try to make decisions to bring results back, and when the results are back and we have better stability in our confidence levels, then go back to what you are.”