Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has launched an impassioned defence of under-performing winger Eden Hazard, insisting he is still the best player in England.
The Blues winger endured a difficult evening against Maccabi Tel-Aviv in midweek, failing to make an impression and missing a penalty as Mourinho’s men won 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard has yet to score this season but, ahead of this weekend’s derby clash with Arsenal, Mourinho has backed the Belgian to soon rediscover the form that saw him crowned PFA Player of the Year in 2014-15.
He told reporters: “He’s the best player in England. It’s not because Rooney doesn’t score goals for three weeks that he’s not a fantastic player. Eden is the best player playing in this country.
“It’s not because a bad performance or a penalty missed, or not scoring goals for three or four weeks. He’s the best. He’ll be the best again. I don’t know if it’s tomorrow or next week but one of these days he’s man of the match.”
Speculation persists over Mourinho’s likely team selection against the Gunners, with John Terry left on the substitutes’ bench against Maccabi in midweek.
The Portuguese, though, insists that he trusts the 34-year-old implicitly.
“You have to look to the situation like this; last season he played every minute. Two seasons ago he didn’t. Three seasons ago even less. So what’s the problem? He’s a player of my total confidence. I trust him as always. He’s one of my men,” he added.