Chelsea star Eden Hazard has suggested that he was made to play through the pain last season as ‘some people didn’t believe’ he had an injury problem.
The Belgium international endured one of the worst seasons of his career last term as he failed to even score in the Premier League until April, with Chelsea suffering as a result as they managed to only finish 10th in the table.
Hazard is firing again this year, however, and he says being fully fit again is making a big difference to his form.
In what sounds like a thinly-veiled dig at former manager Jose Mourinho, Hazard says he wasn’t trusted over the fitness problems affecting his impact on the team.
‘I’m playing without pain,’ he said. ‘Last year was complicated.
‘Some people didn’t believe it, but I played with an injury for a long time. I was never 100%, and when you’re not completely fit it’s hard to play at your best.
Middlesbrough (A) – Sun 20 Nov
Tottenham (H) – Sat 26 Nov
Manchester City (A) – Sat 3 Dec
West Brom (H) – Sun 11 Dec
Sunderland (A) – Wed 14 Dec
‘But I had a good break after the Euros, a good pre-season, and was ready.’
Asked if he is benefiting from being ‘liberated’ in Antonio Conte’s new-look Chelsea system, he said: ‘Liberated, yes. It feels like that sometimes, being injury-free and if a system brings the best out of you.’