Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock has made no secret of his disappointment at having to prepare for Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Willian this weekend.
The Premier League newboys who are still without a win so far this season make the daunting trip to Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon in a bid to become the first side to take points off Maurizio Sarri’s new-look side.
Despite only replacing Antonio Conte in-mid July, the Italian tactician has already managed to transform last season’s FA Cup winners and the likes of Hazard and Willian are just two players who have started the season in fine form.
At one stage this summer it appeared that at least one – possibly both – were set to be sold.
Barcelona had numerous bids for Willian rejected, while Hazard was linked with a switch to Real Madrid after comments made after this summer’s World Cup .
However, both remained in west London and that’s not what Warnock was hoping for.
“I was hoping Barcelona bought Willian and Hazard went to Real Madrid in the summer,” he told the Evening Standard.
“They are such great players. Hazard? People try and kick him but he just loves it, he wants to play. I love his attitude.
“I can understand why Chelsea didn’t let him go. He’s a massive part of what they’re trying to do.
“How do you stop him? Goodness knows. I was hoping Iceland were going to take chunks out of him when he played for Belgium the other night.”
Hazard has weighed in with two goals and the same number of assists in his four Premier League appearances so far this season, making him an obvious dangerman for the Bluebirds.
Having seen his side heavily criticised for their treatment of Leroy Sane against Manchester City last season, Warnock insists there will be no special plans for Hazard and has vowed to attack at Stamford Bridge.
“In all seriousness, I won’t set out to do that (hurt Hazard),” he added.
“We get tainted with the wrong brush. We got criticised after the Manchester City game. People made such a meal of it, you’d think we were animals.
“The reason Hazard gets fouled a lot is because he’s so quick, so deceptive, so good. Some lads in the division will be late at times but it’s merely because they’re not at his level.”
“We want to try and attack as best we can and that’s what we’ve been working on this week,” Warnock said in a separate interview with talkSPORT.
“We’re not good enough to sit behind the ball, home or away, so we might as well have a go if we can. We’ve earned the right to be there so why not have a go!”