By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Eden Hazard has played down talk that he could quit Chelsea next summer by claiming he wants to win trophies with Jose Mourinho “next season and on”.
The reigning Footballer of the Year has struggled in the opening three months of the campaign, with his poor form almost directly mirroring that of the club.
Chelsea sources have told Football Insider that the Belgian’s relationship with Mourinho has been strained at various points this season but Hazard has hinted that his relationship with the Portugese is now back on track.
Indeed, the left winger has claimed that his recent return to something approaching his 2014-15 form is a result of a recent heart-to-heart with the manager during which he asked to be switched to the No10 role he prefers.
Mourinho granted Hazard his wish in Chelsea’s Premier League defeat to Stoke before the international break and, again, in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Norwich.
Speaking afterwards, Hazard said: “I don’t have a problem with him. I heard a lot of things about this, but no. Everything is good with him.
“He is the best manager. He is the best manager for Chelsea and we hope we can win a lot of trophies together. Maybe not this season because it will be difficult, but next season and on.”
The Belgium international is at a loss to explain why his form has nosedived so badly this season but is hopeful that his chat with Mourinho at the club’s Cobham headquarters the day after Chelsea’s defeat at West Ham in October.
“I said to him, ‘maybe we have to change something, maybe I have to play at No10’,”explained Hazard. “We did and I played a very good game in Stoke. And, against Norwich, it was the same.
“I like playing No10, but I’ll play as a left winger too. I just want to be on the pitch. It doesn’t matter whether that’s in the middle or on the flanks.
“When I was young I played as a No10. Sometimes there is more freedom there. Sometimes not. When you play against compact teams like Norwich, it’s difficult to find space. But we have good players and they know how to move and when to pass the ball.”
Asked about his own poor form – Hazard has not yet scored for his club this season- he replied: “I didn’t start the season well. I know that. I don’t know why. Sometimes you don’t.
“I gave everything in training, on the pitch when I played. I hope I can get a lot more form and try to help the team win games.”