BY PAUL LAGAN
Eden Hazard concedes that the Premier League title is beyond Chelsea this season as Manchester City are “not much’ better than them, but they are better in just about every department – not least in their consistency but now is not the time to panic.
The Blues were humbled by Spurs at Wembley 3-1 on Saturday, ending their unbeaten start to their league season.
It was a painful encounter for players and fans alike and Hazard was quick to try and explain.
“I think everything was bad,” he said.
“Everyone saw after 15 minutes we conceded two goals against Tottenham it is always going to be hard to start a game 2-0 down. We tried to push but it was not enough. It was a bad day, we need to move forward and try to bounce back.”
Head coach Maurizio Sarri said the Blues have mental problems starting games – Hazard is unsure
“I don’t know if it is a mental problem,” he said: “We have top players in the team, we have players who can play under pressure. I don’t think it is a mental problem. When we are losing, you can always find an excuse, but I think Tottenham were just better than Chelsea. That’s it.”
Hazard, 27, doesn’t feel that the unbeaten run led to competency.
“No, I don’t think so. When you are winning games, everything is okay. But when you lose a game, you just need to keep working because it happens in football. We need to analyse why we lost and then try to not do it again, to win the next game.
“There is no need to panic. We have been playing good football. This was just not our day. We have shown since the beginning of the season that we are a good team, we have the players. So no panic, just try to forget this game.”
Hazard confirmed in French TV that his situation at Chelsea is fluid – he won’t leave in january but could in the summer.
“He said: “At the moment I’m concentrating on Chelsea, If I don’t extend [my contract], it is possible [that I will join Real Madrid]. I’m not leaving in January. Next summer it is possible, but it is also possible that I spend the rest of my career at Chelsea.”
Right now he want the west Londoners to go on another long unbeaten run: “We want to go on another unbeaten run now. We want to take points. The target is to finish in the top four. In the Premier League anything can happen. Next week we can beat Fulham and other teams can lose points.
“When you lose one, you don’t want to make it two. We have to win, we have to play better and win again.”
The spectre of Man City looms on the horizon on December 10 at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard said his side could have lost by more than three and if they play against City as they did Spurs it could be worse.
“Yes. But it could have been a lot worse on Saturday as well,” he said.
“We don’t need to think about City now, just the next game. We play City next month, we have time to prepare for that game.
“We are thinking about finishing in the top four, not to be the champion. We know that City are not much better than Chelsea, but they are better at the moment. We missed the top four last season, we want to be in it this time because we want to play Champions League next season. That’s why we need to think about that.
“City are better than us in a a lot of things – possession they are better; when they have chances they score; maybe defensively they are better. They have top players – they are in a good momentum since last year and we need to be back like this.”