Chelsea were well beaten by Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, losing the game by a 1-0 scoreline that really flattered the Blues.
To add insult to injury, the winning goal was scored by Kevin de Bruyne, a player who once played for Chelsea but was let go by Jose Mourinho.
When asked about de Bruyne as a player after the game, Antonio Conte was highly complimentary of the Belgian, praising his various quality and calling him the “complete player” with a combination of physical and technical skills that were all on display in London.
“I don’t know, honestly, what happened in the past, but for sure we are talking about a top player, the complete player. He’s good – technical, fast, and he works hard for his team. He is the complete player.” – Antonio Conte, The Guardian
He isn’t the first person to lament this particular legacy of Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, but one has to remember the situation the club were in then, with Oscar and Juan Mata both coming through as young players who looked set to own the position for years to come.
At this stage, there’s no point looking back on the past and asking what your team could have done better. We let Kevin go and it was a mistake, that’s all there is to it.
Chelsea star set for huge new contract as club determined to keep him
Chelsea are reportedly so keen to keep Eden Hazard at the club they are willing to make him their highest paid player according to the Express.
The report claims Hazard would see a pay-rise that would net him £300,000 per week and give him the biggest reason of all to stay in west London and ignore any and all approaches from Real Madrid or even the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
The deal would also see Hazard named the highest paid player in the league – with Paul Pogba currently netting the most on around £290,000 per week – and would be a major sign of faith from Chelsea.
There may well have been rumours around Antonio Conte’s future once again after the loss to Manchester City, but Hazard is someone the fans and the board feel they simply have to keep at the club, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Another change Chelsea have made in recent games is moving Hazard into the number ten role – something he’s long claimed would be the best solution for himself and the club.
Against Atletico Madrid, it worked wonders for the Blues, but Hazard was ineffectual against Manchester City – of course in part due to the injury suffered to Alvaro Morata.
Hazard has often spoken about wanting to be seen as not just a good player, but a great player, and will now see the chance to become Chelsea’s main man this season, or at least during the absence of Morata.
Given Hazard missed the start of the season through his own injury, he will feel there’s plenty to catch up on, and with Conte’s men now relying on him more than ever it will certainly be an opportune time for him to remind everyone just how much he is worth – and get back to the form that saw Jose Mourinho call him as good as Cristiano Ronaldo.