Belfast Telegraph

Hazard insists injury is behind him as he looks forward to big week for Chelsea

Eden Hazard has declared himself ready to hit top form ahead of a pivotal week for Chelsea's season.

The Belgium playmaker struck the winner in Saturday's 1-0 victory at Bournemouth, where Chelsea kept themselves nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Hazard missed the start of the season after ankle surgery but has now claimed three goals in as many Chelsea games in all competitions.

The Blues travel to Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday, before hosting Manchester United in the league on Sunday - and Hazard hopes now to kick himself and his side into a new gear.

Asked if he is now at full throttle after his injury, Hazard replied: "Yeah for sure, definitely.

"I'm training hard, the injury is the past.

"I'm fully ready for the next game, I just want to play.

"A big week is coming, so it was important also for the confidence to stay high, after the game against Watford, to win at Bournemouth.

"We are full of confidence now, two big games in Champions League and Premier League. And we are ready to play both."

Chelsea laboured in front of goal despite dominating against the Cherries on Saturday, but Hazard's low strike sealed the win.

Boss Antonio Conte admitted afterwards the importance of the victory in terms of Chelsea's Premier League title defence.

And Hazard echoed those sentiments, especially as the Blues still claimed the points despite off-kilter finishing.

"It's a massive win, massive," Hazard told Chelsea TV.

"We should have scored more goals, but we did well in defending together and at the end of the game we had the three points, and that's the most important thing.

"At half-time, we just said 'we need to keep pushing, to keep playing like this, we are playing well and the only problem is that we haven't scored'.

"We know the quality of the team that we can score at any time. So we did, I did, and it's important because we won."

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe insisted he remains calm about his side's sticky start to the new campaign - but admitted he must quickly find an answer to turn promising performances into draws and wins.

Bournemouth face Newcastle, Huddersfield, Swansea and Burnley in a pivotal November Premier League run, with Howe well aware they must gain a good return.

"I don't see a problem with us in attack, but I've got to find the right formula," said Howe.

"It's a crisis in the Premier League when you lose one game. It's a commonly used word.

"For us we're concerned, of course we are.

"November is a massive month for us, we're under no illusions about that."

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