Eden Hazard determined to end debut season for Chelsea with trophy
The Belgian has enjoyed a strong first season in the Premier League
Wednesday 20 March 2013
Eden Hazard is determined to finish an impressive first season at Chelsea with silverware.
The Belgian playmaker has scored 12 goals in 50 games since moving to Stamford Bridge from Lille for a reported fee of £32million last summer.
The 22-year-old has missed just three of Chelsea's games this term - when he was suspended after being sent off in the Capital One Cup semi-final at Swansea following an incident with a ball boy - and has demonstrated his importance in recent weeks.
Hazard scored the decisive goal in the Europa League tie with Sparta Prague, netted in the FA Cup quarter-final at Manchester United as Chelsea forced a replay and scored in the defeat of West Ham which took the Blues to third in the Barclays Premier League.
The results have provided a boost for Chelsea - and interim boss Rafael Benitez - entering the international break.
"It's been a good season for me so far but I could have done better in certain situations," Hazard told chelseafc.com.
"There have been good moments and bad moments, both for me individually and the team, but hopefully we can finish the season strongly.
"We're still on the right track to win both the FA Cup and Europa League, and we'll be doing everything in our power to make sure that happens because big clubs can only be judged to have had a successful season if they win one or, if they're lucky, several, trophies."
It has been a tumultuous season for last season's Champions League winners, who are beginning to come good under Benitez, who was an unpopular successor to Roberto Di Matteo due to his prior association with Liverpool.
Chelsea began the season in contention for seven trophies but became the first holders to be dumped out of the Champions League at the group stages.
The Europa League is the unexpected eighth chance for silverware, of which two remain - in the second-tier European competition and the FA Cup - although United and Rubin Kazan stand in the Blues' way.
Qualification for next season's Champions League is imperative, too, with the Blues in a strong position after leapfrogging Tottenham last weekend and moving to within four points of second-placed Manchester City.
Hazard, whose potential has been lauded by Frank Lampard, added: "It was a big disappointment going out of the Champions League so early, particularly as the same thing happened to me with Lille last season, when we were eliminated at the group stage.
"It's such an important competition and that's why I feel we could have achieved a bit more this season.
"We're on the right path to qualify for next season's tournament, though, and I think if we do we have enough quality players at the club to go a long way in it."
Hazard believes the spring is where he blossoms, which is just as well for Chelsea, who have six games in 16 days following the internationals.
"My confidence is really up at the moment and I feel good in myself," he said.
"It's quite weird because, historically, March always seems to be the best time of the year for me.
"Last year I got player of the month in Ligue 1, and a couple of years ago I won the same award.
"I don't know why but it seems as though things come good for me at this time of the season.
"Being honest, I didn't expect to be playing in every game, but aside from the three I missed through suspension, I have."
Hazard has worked well in partnership with Oscar and Juan Mata, in particular, behind a lone centre forward in what Benitez describes as a second offensive line.
"It's great and it's a real pleasure to play alongside players of that calibre," Hazard said.
"As a young, developing player myself, it's brilliant for me because you learn playing alongside these guys and you develop your own game in the process.
"In terms of players such as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, you're talking about some of the best players in the world.
"Training alongside those players every day helps you learn all the time. They tell you what you need to know out on the pitch and they instil the qualities which are needed."
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