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Eden Hazard: No longer such a hazard

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 - 7:58am IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph

Eden Hazard claims he has silenced the critics who have accused him of failing to star in Chelsea's big games. The Belgium international produced a man-of-the-match performance to inspire Chelsea to a crucial 2-1 victory over Liverpool. Most of Hazard's Premier League goals have come against lesser opposition since his pounds 32?million move to Chelsea from Lille in 2012.

There has been frustration that 22-year-old Hazard could be working harder on his ability to become one of the world's best players. Having netted the winner against Swansea on Boxing Day, Hazard feels he proved he can be the man for the big occasion with a fantastic strike against Liverpool. "Unfortunately the goal did not count double because it was in a big match," said Hazard. "But I silence those who said I only score against weaker opponents. That gives me pleasure.

"I try to score in every match. I don't set myself a target for the season, but my aim is to get goals and assists, and the most important thing is the three points." Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho dropped Hazard earlier this season for returning late from France. But Mourinho is happy with a return of eight Premier League goals over the first half of the season. "In football, statistics are really important," said Hazard.

"I score more goals now and I assist more. I can play an average game and score two times. But I can also play a top game without contributing. I am a perfectionist, but I'm not a killer yet. I'm working on it. "I think Jose Mourinho likes me. He's sometimes provocative, he loves to play mind games. He launches things to motivate players in a positive way. What people don't know is that he's close to his players. He leaves me alone, lets me work and when he has something to say, he tells you to your face but always with a friendly pat on the back. He's a top coach a great personality."

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