Eden Hazard comments on Conte’s decision to drop his friend Batshuayi, talks about Bournemouth win, Diego Costa and more

Chelsea forward Eden Hazard says the club can’t rely on the same XI players to maintain a Premier League title bid.

The Blues moved seven points clear at the top of the league on Boxing Day with their 12th straight victory as they brushed off the absence of leading scorer Diego Costa to ease to a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.

N’Golo Kante was also suspended as goals from Pedro and Hazard put the Blues on course for all three points before a late Steve Cook own goal put the game beyond Eddie Howe’s side.

And Hazard, who spearheaded the Chelsea attack as Costa served his one-game ban for picking up five yellow cards, believes it’s crucial Conte shuffles the pack to find alternative blueprints for success.

“Everything is good,” the Blegium international told Chelsea’s official website.

“The result, the performance, all the players give everything, running 90 minutes so we are happy, we are top of the league and it is Christmas so for the fans this is important and we won this game for them.

“We have different options. Diego we know is the top scorer in the league but we have to find different solutions and we did, with Pedro and me and also Willian can score and we have Michy on the bench, so we have a lot of solutions and we did well.

‘During the week I thought that Michy would play there because Diego [Costa] was suspended.

‘But the coach picked me to play up top, so I tried to do my best.

‘I had already played there a little last year. So I know the position a little. Generally it went well.’

Chelsea winger Charly Musonda wanted by Roma to replace former Blues player Mohamed Salah

Chelsea winger Charly Musonda is wanted by Roma.

The Italian side want the young Belgian on loan to fill the void left by Mohamed Salah while he joins up with Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Musonda endured an inauspicious first part of the season on loan with Real Betis and returned to Stamford Bridge this month to resume training with Antonio Conte’s first team squad.

Chelsea have high hopes for the talented Musonda and want him to go where he will play regularly and be tested.

Their concern if he goes to Roma will be if he is left on the bench once Salah returns.

Roma currently sit second in Serie A, four points behind leaders Juventus, but the Old Lady hold a game in hand.

The Belgium under 21 international can also play as an attacking midfielder, but has yet to make his first-team debut since moving to Stamford Bridge as a youth player in 2012.

In total he made eight appearances for Betis this season, in addition to 16 during the second-half of the 2015/16 campaign.

Thibaut Courtois: This is why Chelsea have won 12 games in a row

THIBAUT COURTOIS claims the fear of another season of failure has driven Chelsea on during their record-breaking run.

And the Blues goalkeeper admits their surge to the top of the table on a club record 12-match winning run has taken even the players by surprise.

Chelsea endured a nightmare campaign last season when they finished tenth, 31 points behind champions Leicester.

By then Jose Mourinho had already paid the price with his job – but Courtois admits doubts persisted when Antonio Conte’s side lost to Arsenal and Liverpool earlier this season.

He said: “We knew that maybe our mentality was not right in those two games we lost against Liverpool and Arsenal.

“They were tough games and we didn’t have the same intensity as Arsenal or Liverpool. If you don’t put the same intensity in as the other side, you will not win that kind of game.

“So that’s why we talked as a team about making a step up at that point, because we didn’t want to have the same season as last year. We needed to step up and that’s what we did.

“Obviously with the current run of wins of course we would say we are doing maybe better than expected after a bad season last year.

“We are top of the league with more points than we had after this many games when we were champions two years ago.

“So that says we are doing well but we have to keep on working hard and fighting a lot against the teams who defend more and are hard to break down. We will try to do our best and keep the run going.”

Courtois has kept ten clean sheets during Chelsea’s 12-game winning streak and has not been beaten in over 400 minutes of football.

He said: “If you can win games and keep clean sheets it gives confidence to all the team and to the goalkeeper especially.

“The goalkeeper depends on that quite a lot I think. Before, I had a lot of critics because we faced not so many shots and my shots-to-goals percentage was not very good.

“But if you analyse those goals maybe only the penalty against Swansea I could have done better with. The other ones were always good shots.

“Then, as a goalkeeper, it is not easy but we are playing well this season. I feel good and it’s great to get all those clean sheets with important saves as well.”

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