Hazard: Derby win is vital
Published 15/03/2013 | 17:46
Eden Hazard believes a Chelsea victory over West Ham on Sunday is imperative as they seek to finish the season on a high.
Last season's Champions League winners will bid to carry the momentum from a successful week into the Barclays Premier League clash after keeping alive their two remaining quests for silverware in the FA Cup and Europa League.
"Three points are a must for us on Sunday - we need to win the match," Hazard said on Chelsea's official website. "Chelsea are a big club - we have to win titles and to qualify for the Champions League. There's a lot to do but we'll try to do it all."
Hazard believes the close proximity of Thursday night's 3-1 win over Steaua Bucharest, which secured a place in the Europa League last eight 3-2 on aggregate, could benefit Chelsea against a Hammers side who will be playing just their second match of the month.
"It might favour us at the start of the game because we should be able to set the tempo and get into our stride quicker because we've been more used to playing competitive games recently," Hazard said.
"But where it might favour them slightly is the fact that towards the end of the game tiredness may set in for us, while in effect they should be stronger because they've had a bit of a rest.
"It's something we have to deal with, and with the support of our fans behind us I'm sure we will be able to."
Chelsea suffered the first defeat of Benitez's tenure at Upton Park in December, despite entering half-time leading 1-0.
"At Upton Park, one or two errors crept in, particularly during the second half, but we were very good in the first half," Hazard said.
"We need to try to repeat that first-half display on Sunday and make sure we get a positive result. We are going into the game in good form, so we should be able to produce a strong performance."