Belfast Telegraph

Conte hails Hazard's impact as Chelsea off to flyer

Chelsea 3 Burnley 0

By Chris Hatherall

Four games into his new career at Chelsea and manager Antonio Conte has already guided his side to four consecutive wins and into the top two of the Premier League following a comfortable 3-0 victory over Burnley in which Eden Hazard was inspirational.

Hazard, the man who failed to turn up last season as Chelsea sacked Jose Mourinho and finished 10th in the table, was almost unplayable at Stamford Bridge as he opened the scoring after nine minutes and helped his team dominate from start to finish.

Further goals from Willian and substitute Victor Moses completed what was a highly efficient victory, achieved without the need for Chelsea to hit top gear. In fact the Blues even managed to secure a clean sheet, their first under Conte and, remarkably, their first at home in 13 matches going all the way back to January.

Conte said: "Starting the season with three league wins and a win in the cup is good, for the confidence of the players, the fans, for the club, for me. When we start in this way, you can work better.

"I am pleased for Eden too. Eden is a fantastic player, working very well with a great attitude. After the first day, I saw this - his will to work and improve and find a good shape. But I can also say that his performance can improve. I'm pleased with his commitment and work-rate. But for all the players, the attitude is good. I like this."

Burnley, newly promoted from the Championship, hadn't won a league game at the Bridge for 45 years - and from the moment Hazard scored after only nine minutes it looked hugely unlikely they would break that duck.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche, who expects to take Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford on loan tomorrow, said: "The first half that was as poor as we've been in a year, against a very, very strong group. There's a huge gulf between where we are as a club and where they are, but we didn't perform well. Throw in some very poor decisions and you don't really stand a chance."

Willian made it 2-0 with another accurate finish, this time driven low from the right-hand side of the area just before half-time; and there was never really any chance for Burnley, who bravely arrived in west London with two up front, to come back.

John Terry missed an excellent chance after the break, firing over the bar after Hazard's shot had been saved by the excellent Tom Heaton, but the respite did not last long.

Chelsea completed a hugely convincing victory in the 89th minute when Pedro swept a ball across the box for fellow substitute Moses to slide the ball home, his first Premier League goal for Chelsea since 2012.

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