Belfast Telegraph

It's difficult playing as champions, says Chelsea's Eden Hazard

By Carl Markham

Eden Hazard says Chelsea are finding life as Premier League champions challenging as "everyone wants to kill you".

The Blues are eight points adrift of leaders Manchester City after four points in four games and suffered a rare home loss -Jose Mourinho's second at home in 100 league matches - against Crystal Palace before the international break.

Chelsea next play at Everton on Saturday in a contest which could have added spice after the Blues' unsuccessful attempts to sign defender John Stones.

Hazard, the recipient of numerous awards as Chelsea's star man last term, is one of a number of players yet to hit the same performance levels, much to Mourinho's dissatisfaction.

The Belgium playmaker said: "It's difficult to play as a champion because everyone wants to beat you, everyone wants to kill you.

"We had a fantastic season last season... if we could do the same again, that'd be good."

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Mourinho labelled Hazard one of the three best players in the world last term, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Hazard added: "Every day I try to reach a better level. This is my job, every day I try to score. Every game I try to score.

"I just want to be a champion and win everything like I did last season."

Everton winger Aaron Lennon, meanwhile, looks set for his first competitive action since May as manager Roberto Martinez will name him in the squad for Chelsea's visit.

The 28-year-old's last match was for the Toffees on May 16 at the end of his loan spell but having rejoined permanently for a fee of £4.5m he is keen to get started.

Fellow deadline day signing Ramiro Funes Mori is also likely to be in the squad despite him not returning until today after international duty with Argentina.

"I'm not worried about his physical state and he needs to play games now to sharpen up his play," said Martinez of Lennon, who scored two goals in 14 appearances last term.

"He's refreshed and is in a great position. He knows the club inside out and is desperate to get back to Goodison."

Belfast Telegraph


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