Belfast Telegraph

Hazard unfazed by rough treatment

Eden Hazard had no fear about becoming a target for English football's hatchet men following his dream Barclays Premier League debut for Chelsea.

Hazard made a stunning start to life in England's top division on Sunday with two assists in the first seven minutes of the European champions' 2-0 win at Wigan. The Latics immediately resorted to desperate measures to stop the £32million man, with captain Gary Caldwell booked for a late challenge on him just four minutes later.

But Belgium star Hazard shrugged off his treatment afterwards, insisting it was no worse than he had suffered playing for Lille or against Manchester City in last weekend's Community Shield. And he said: "I already had a taste of these kind of tackles in the Community Shield."

He added: "I was kicked quite a bit in the first half against Wigan but, in France, it was already like that for me. I wasn't aware I was the most fouled player in the match, I wasn't counting them.

"At the start of the game, you could see the way I play and the most important thing is I'm not injured."

Yet Hazard refused to get carried away with his own contribution, pointing out he did not have the same impact after winning the penalty that put Chelsea 2-0 up.

"There are still a lot of things I can do better," he added. "I lost a lot of balls in the second half, but I contributed what was asked of me. I was asked to be decisive and I was, with the penalty and an assist."

Hazard was nevertheless pleased with how he slotted in alongside Juan Mata, with both playing just off Fernando Torres.

"I started as the number 10 and then afterwards with Mata, we tried to interchange positions rather than stay in the same place and I think we worked rather well," said Hazard, who was withdrawn for fellow big-money new boy Oscar.

"Oscar has just arrived and we haven't had the time to work together. We have only had one training session so far but, little by little, we should get things to where they should be."

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