Belfast Telegraph

Blues starting to click again, insists Hazard

 

By Declan Warrington

Chelsea eased the growing pressure on manager Antonio Conte and returned to the Premier League's top four with a 3-0 win over West Brom.

Two goals from Eden Hazard and another from Victor Moses ended a run of two straight league defeats, took them back above London rivals Tottenham and up to fourth - and left 20th-placed West Brom seven points from safety.

Goalscorer Hazard said: "Last year we were champions and the most important thing is to be together, to work together, talk together and that's what we did. We showed great character defensively and offensively, that's good.

"It wasn't a good moment for us because we lost two games but now we are back, we are Chelsea, we are the champions and we need to give everything."

Boss Conte is unconcerned by the conjecture surrounding his future at Chelsea.

He said: “We are getting used to the speculation and the rumours.

“What we have to do in the present and in the future, we have to try to fight against the speculation, there is only one way: to try to win, to try to play good football.

“Until the end we continue to live with this speculation but for me this is not important. The important thing is to work with the players for the fans that push us in every game.”

The Italian was relieved his side put their recent bad spell behind them, adding: “It was very important to get three points and to win the game, especially for the confidence.

“When you lose two games in a bad way the confidence goes down.

“We started the game with low confidence and made a couple of mistakes. West Brom could have scored. Then I think when we scored we controlled, dominated and had many chances. It’s important to go through this bad moment but the most important is to get the win.

“Now we have the FA Cup on Friday and want to go through to the next round, then Barcelona. It will be important to find the right confidence.”

Striker Olivier Giroud made his Stamford Bridge debut last night after his January transfer window move from Arsenal.

On Giroud, Hazard conceded: “He’s a great target man, maybe one of the best in England, so when we pass the ball we can go around him, not just me but Pedro and Willian when we are playing.”

West Brom’s defeat was worsened by the loss of Daniel Sturridge although boss Alan Pardew is hopeful the injury is nothing serious.

Pardew said: “We’re hoping it’s not too bad. Obviously it was very, very early in the game, we don’t think it’s a tear or anything.

“(It could be) a strain which will probably keep him out of the FA Cup game but fingers crossed in a few weeks he’ll be okay.”

With West Brom five points behind Stoke City at the bottom of the table, these are worrying times for Baggies fans.

Pardew added: “When you go to a top-six team who are wounded a little bit, we had a great chance to hurt them. We missed a great chance and five minutes later we were 1-0 down. Our poise in the game was good and we still created chances. We just couldn’t hurt them.”

Belfast Telegraph

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