Haz­ard backs Mour­inho as Real Madrid cir­cle

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Jose Mour­inho has re­ceived sup­port from an un­likely source af­ter Bel­gian foot­ball star, Eden Haz­ard, re­vealed he would love to play for the un­der-pres­sure Manch­ester United man­ager again.

While there is lit­tle chance of him mov­ing from Chelsea to United, Haz­ard’s sur­prise claim may be of in­ter­est to Real Madrid, who the Bel­gian is hop­ing to join next sum­mer.

Mour­inho re­mains on good terms with Real pres­i­dent, Florentino Perez, and would be a can­di­date to re­place Real man­ager Julen Lopetegui if both men lost their cur­rent jobs.

De­spite a 3-2 come­back vic­tory over New­cas­tle United last week­end, Mour­inho re­mains un­der pres­sure at United as he pre­pares for this Sun­day’s trip to Chelsea. Span­ish re­ports have claimed Lopetegui’s fu­ture could be de­cided by the Oc­to­ber 28 game be­tween Real and Barcelona, fol­low­ing a four-match Real run with­out a point or a goal. Haz­ard has made it clear he would have no prob­lem mov­ing to Real if Mour­inho re­turned to the Bern­abeu for a sec­ond spell in charge.

Haz­ard only scored four English Premier League goals in the en­tire 2015-16 sea­son and had not net­ted at all when Mour­inho lost his Chelsea job in De­cem­ber 2015.

In an in­ter­view with Bel­gian news­pa­per HLN, Haz­ard said: ‘‘The last sea­son un­der Mour­inho was not pleas­ant any more, we didn’t win, we got into a sort of rou­tine, train­ing, train­ing with­out hav­ing fun, it was bet­ter for all par­ties the col­lab­o­ra­tion came to an end. But if I’m now asked one coach with whom I want to work again, then I say Mour­inho.

‘‘If you win, Mour­inho is the best coach you can imag­ine. Then he is a friend of yours – you can do what­ever you want. Want one day off, he gives you two. If ev­ery­thing goes well, Mour­inho will ex­pe­ri­ence foot­ball like me, with ease.

‘‘Even his own im­age of an ex­tremely de­fen­sive coach was not too bad. He is far from ad­ven­tur­ous like [Pep] Guardi­ola, but the year in which we be­came cham­pi­ons, we have made many goals and played good games.

‘‘I do not re­gret many things in my ca­reer, but that I have not been able to work with Mour­inho at Chelsea any more [is one]. We had a team to get a lot of prizes, but we just ended up in a neg­a­tive spi­ral.’’

While he waits for a sig­nal from Real that they will make a big push to sign him in May, Haz­ard has promised to stop speak­ing about the Euro­pean cham­pi­ons. ‘‘Let me put it this way; if I ever play for Real Madrid, I will be very happy, and if I will never play for Real, it is be­cause it is not al­lowed. Then I’ll be happy at Chelsea.’’

Chelsea head coach Mau­r­izio Sarri, who has brought out Haz­ard’s best form at Stam­ford Bridge, is re­laxed about his star man’s fu­ture.

‘‘His con­tract ex­pires in 2020, but he’s stay­ing here.’’

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