Chelsea v Norwich: Jose Mourinho insists he has no problem with Eden Hazard but does concede his mistake cost Chelsea dear in Champions League exit
Hazard's comments after the match appeared to be a slight on Mourinho's tactics but the Blues' manager feels that he said nothing critical in his words
Friday 02 May 2014
Jose Mourinho lamented Eden Hazard's error in Chelsea's Champions League elimination but has no qualms with the Belgian's comments following the midweek exit to Atletico Madrid.
Hazard, Chelsea's sparking performer for much of the season, failed to track back to allow Atletico to equalise in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg and later said the Blues are set up to counter-attack, not to take the initiative in games.
The comments were interpretated as a slight on Mourinho's tactics, which have been criticised of late, and coming from a player linked with Paris St Germain this summer led to speculation over his future.
"I listened to the interview," said Mourinho, whose side lost 3-1 to Atletico and play Norwich in the Premier League on Sunday.
"There was nothing critical in what he said. When the comments come from a player like Eden it's normal because he's not the kind of player to sacrifice himself for the team.
"Normally you get these kind of comments from players like him, from players that can't resolve a problem like we had in the first goal.
"Eden is the kind of player that is not so mentally ready to look back to his left-back and to leave his life for him.
"If you see the first goal of Atletico you completely understand where the mistake was and why we conceded that goal.
"The perfect team at the top level cannot make these kinds of mistakes."
Read more: Luiz admits trophyless season would be 's***'
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Willian and Andre Schurrle performed selflessly on the left in Madrid and in the win at Liverpool, respectively, but Hazard's error on his return from a calf injury was costly.
Adrian's equaliser eight minutes after Fernando Torres had put Chelsea in front gave Atletico a crucial away goal and Mourinho's men could not respond.
"Normally in this game if you go to half-time winning 1-0 the game is another game because Atletico has to chase the game," Mourinho added.
Hazard has been praised for his defensive duties this term, but Mourinho insists he still has work to do.
"I'm not happy," Mourinho said.
"I speak all season and I try to improve him all season."
Chelsea players look downcast during their Champions League semi-final defeat to Atletico The missed opportunity to advance to the May 24 Lisbon final against Mourinho's former side Real Madrid means Chelsea are almost certain - in their manager's opinion - to miss out on a trophy this season.
Chelsea play Norwich on Sunday and will be at Cardiff on the final day needing Manchester City and Liverpool to slip up to have any chance of a first Premier League title since 2010.
"I don't think so," said Mourinho, who described the fact City play their game in hand next Wednesday as "something amazing".
"But the only thing we can do is win both matches. Imagine if we are not champions because we don't win these two matches. It wouldn't be a good feeling for the players.
"We know that we play against two teams that desperately need the three points, but we also need the points to finish third and guarantee a Champions League spot next season.
"More than the points we need to win both matches and we need to win the last match at home (to Norwich)."
David Luiz described a trophyless campaign as poor, but Mourinho disagrees.
"I don't think it's a bad season, I think it's a transitional season," Mourinho said.
"For the transitional season to fight for the title until the last moment and to go to the Champions League semi-final I think is a good step, especially compared to the season before."
The self-proclaimed Special One, the most successful manager in Chelsea's history, believes he is judged on his pedigree after leading Inter Milan to the treble in 2010 before joining Real, where he challenged Barcelona's hegemony.
Terry and Luiz look on after conceding a goal to Atletico Mourinho added: "You arrive into a level where finishing second is not good, losing the Champions League semi-final is not good.
"I'm guilty of that and I'm proudly guilty of that."
His assistant Rui Faria was given a six-match stadium ban by the Football Association for his dismissal during the controversial Sunderland loss, with Chelsea awaiting the written reasons before reacting.
"It doesn't deserve a comment," said Mourinho, who is awaiting the outcome of his own disciplinary actions from the Sunderland loss.
Mourinho also refused to be drawn on reports a £32million deal has been agreed with Diego Costa, who scored at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
"We are going to do some, I would say a couple, of critical signings," added Mourinho, who declined to confirm if goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois would be back at Chelsea next season.
"Is a striker a target for us? Yes, we never deny that. Is Diego a good player? He is, but he's an Atletico Madrid player so I cannot say much."
The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action
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