Eden Hazard: “Don’t tell Conte, but it’s pointless to defend”

Chelsea star Eden Hazard admits he hates tracking back but must continue to do it in order to remain in Antonio Conte‘s plans at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard, 26, who suffered ankle ligament damage earlier this summer, made his first start for the Blues this season in the side’s 5-1 defeat of Nottingham Forest but is yet to start in the Premier League.

The Belgian attacker insists it is ‘pointless’ for all players to defend, claiming it tires him out towards the end of matches, but understands that tracking back is necessary under Conte.

Asked what makes the perfect footballer, Hazard told France Football: ‘You don’t need that [tracking back]. You can write that.

‘Don’t tell Conte, but you can write that it’s pointless. If you defend too much, you tire yourself out.

‘If I’ve spent the whole game defending, forget about me being useful after the 60th minute, and I’m quite fit.’

Hazard is aware that he could easily find himself on the bench if he fails to track back.

He added: ‘There are people who are meant to defend, while others are there to attack.

‘After that, it’s up to the manager. If that’s what he wants, you need to do it, otherwise you sit on the bench.

‘I defend too. I don’t like it, but I have to with Antonio [Conte].’

Chelsea re-open contract talks with Charly Musonda as Arsenal & Man Utd circle

Chelsea are reportedly set to re-open contract talks with Charly Musonda once again as rivals Arsenal and Manchester United show an interest in the young attacker’s situation.

The Belgian has shone for the Blues this season after returning from two seasons on loan at Real Betis, and seems to have won Antonio Conte’s trust in the first-team.

Arsenal, United and Celtic are said to be among Musonda’s admirers, with the 20-year-old long considered a big talent coming through at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea now hope they can tie Musonda down to a new deal after initially postponing contract talks at the end of last season, amid growing interest from rival clubs.

According to the London Evening Standard, the Premier League champions now eager to re-open negotiations with the youngster after his fine start to the new campaign.

Conte was impressed by Musonda’s performance against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup last week, and reports suggest he’s reassured him he can be a regular in his side.

Chelsea don’t have the best track record of promoting young players into their senior side, but Conte has perhaps shown more willingness than some of his predecessors.

Kenedy was also handed a start against Forest, while Andreas Christensen has played a key role since returning from loan at Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer.

Chelsea will be concerned that Musonda, who earns only £12,000 per week at the moment, has just over a year left on his current contract and could be offered bigger wages elsewhere.

Arsenal and United seemingly rate the player highly and could use his current low pay packet in west London to persuade him to move on.

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