Goal drought has hit Haz­ard hard, says Hid­dink

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - TOTAL FOOTBALL PREMIER LEAGUE - By Tom Pren­tki at the Vi­tal­ity Sta­dium

As Chelsea’s tur­bu­lent sea­son stut­ters to a close, Eden Haz­ard and Cesc Fabre­gas pro­duced the kind of sparkling form to re­mind the Premier League just how dif­fer­ent things were sup­posed to have been.

Be­yond Haz­ard’s two goals, in­cred­i­bly his first of the sea­son, and Fabre­gas’s trio of as­sists, the pair lit up a su­perb match against a be­wil­dered Bournemouth, with Guus Hid­dink de­scrib­ing the Spa­niard’s dis­play as “the per­fect per­for­mance”. “It’s a very bad sea­son, we do not like to ne­glect the facts,” said the Chelsea in­terim man­ager. “It’s dif­fi­cult for a tal­ented, high­qual­ity player like Haz­ard. I think this sea­son he had a very dif­fi­cult sea­son, fall­ing into in­juries, com­ing back, nearly back, play­ing half a game and then fall­ing back into in­juries. It’s frus­trat­ing.”

The Bel­gian’s goals, one in each half, ended a run of 29 games with­out scor­ing, a drought Hid­dink be­lieves has taken a psy­cho­log­i­cal toll on last sea­son’s PFA Player of the Year. “Ev­ery at­tacker who is not scor­ing fre­quently will start think­ing, ‘Ah, I need to be on the score­sheet’. Although you might say he has con­trib­uted a lot with as­sists, ev­ery striker des­per­ately wants to score.” Haz­ard has been linked with Real Madrid and Paris StGer­main, although Hid­dink is hope­ful that the 25-year-old will be at Stam­ford Bridge next sea­son. “It’s im­por­tant [that he stays]. I don’t know ex­actly but he has some more years [on his con­tract] to go. I know he is very happy with every­thing in Chelsea and around Chelsea.” Hid­dink will make way for An­to­nio Conte this sum­mer and knows that the club can­not af­ford a re­peat of the sham­bolic pre-sea­son and slug­gish start that blighted this cam­paign.

“Af­ter the cham­pi­onship, it’s nor­mal you get a lit­tle set­back,” he said. “You have still a head full of cham­pagne – lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively – but then you get a wake-up call in, let’s say, Septem­ber. But they could not over­come that. Po­ten­tially, of course, you have seen that there are very qual­i­fied play­ers but the fu­ture is up to the next man­ager.”

For Chelsea fans, the sea­son is far from over. They spent the fi­nal 10 min­utes chant­ing of their de­sire to beat ri­vals Tot­ten­ham at Stam­ford Bridge next Mon­day and hand the ti­tle to Le­ices­ter. The fe­roc­ity of the ri­valry is some­thing which Hid­dink ad­mits has taken him by sur­prise and he be­lieves vic­tory in the Lon­don derby would go some way to re­deem­ing his play­ers in the eyes of the fans. “The feel­ings are very strong, so there’s a big chance I think,” he said. “I am not a des­per­ate man but we talked about this team in meet­ings this week.”

One to for­get: Eden Haz­ard has had a frus­trat­ing sea­son

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