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Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL: Conte impressed with 'striker' Hazard

EPL: Conte impressed with 'striker' Hazard

November 26, 2017 16:38 IST

Chelsea's Eden Hazard is challenged by Liverpool's Jordan Henderson as they battle for possession during their English Premier League match at Anfield in Liverpool, England on Saturday

IMAGE: Chelsea's Eden Hazard is challenged by Liverpool's Jordan Henderson as they battle for possession during their English Premier League match at Anfield in Liverpool, England on Saturday. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says forward Eden Hazard is finally back to his best after the Belgian displayed all his qualities of technique and speed in the 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday.

Hazard's dribbling and movement, on and off the ball, constantly posed questions for the Liverpool defence and the winger, who was so central to Chelsea's title triumph last year, certainly looks back up to full speed.

 

The 26-year-old was injured while training with Belgium in June and had to undergo angle surgery, missing all of pre-season and the start of his club's title defence.

But having eased him back into the side, Conte feels he is now reaping the rewards for his patience.

"At the start of the season it was full of trouble because he had an injury with the national team and we started the season without him," Conte told reporters after an 85th minute Willian strike had earned his team a point at Anfield.

"When you have this type of injury and you need surgery, it's important to have the best time for your recovery."

Conte was also pleased with how Hazard contributed from a more central position than usual, operating in tandem with Spanish forward Alvaro Morata.

"Eden is now in really good form. He likes to play as a striker and there is a good link with Alvaro. For me, it's an opportunity to play with two different systems," he said.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was also impressed with the Belgian, acknowledging that he needed several players to stop his creativity.

"Wow! Not too bad, to be honest!" said the German when Hazard's performance was mentioned.

"It was not the most thankful job I would say, to defend him alone. With the second player, it's more easy. With the third player you have a good chance."

Mourinho offers coaching role to Manchester United's Carrick

Manchester United Jose Mourinho has said Michael Carrick will be offered a coaching role under him at the Premier League club after the midfielder retires from playing.

Carrick's sole appearance for United this season was in September's League Cup win over Burton Albion and the captain explained his absence from action last Friday, saying that he was on the mend from a heart operation.

"Michael as a person is more important than Michael as a player, so we gave him the time to relax, to recover and to feel confident," Mourinho said after his team's 1-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

"To make the decision he wants to play, he wants to stop (and take a break). He knows that my coaching staff has a chair for him if he wants, when he wants.

"The chair is there in the office for him. I want that, the board wants that, the owners want that, so Michael is in a comfortable situation if his future will be with us."

Carrick, 36, has made over 300 appearances for United since joining the club in 2006 and was named captain before the start of the current campaign. 

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