Eden Hazard has cranked up the pressure on Chelsea by expressing his desperation to win the Champions League after “hating” missing out on Europe’s top table last season.
The Belgium superstar has won the Premier League, League Cup and Europa League with the Blues and also claimed Ligue 1 and Coupe de France medals at previous club Lille.
However, Chelsea’s sole success in the Champions League came in the season prior to Hazard’s arrival and the diminutive forward has been frustrated in his quest for a winners’ medal.
Hazard played his first domestic match of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Leicester City after recovering from an ankle injury and is in line to face Qarabag in Chelsea’s Group C opener on Tuesday.
And the 26-year-old, who has in the past been linked with Real Madrid, is keen to make up for lost time.
“This year is really important. I have reached the semi-final with Chelsea [in 2014], when we lost to Atletico Madrid, so it’s in my head to win this trophy,” he told reporters.
“I have won the Premier League, I have won the title in France, I have won cups, but big players always want to win the Champions League. I think now it is time to win this. We have a good squad, we have a good manager, so we are ready for it.
“You want to play these kind of games because every time you play in the Champions League it’s a big game and everybody is watching you.
“I hate having to watch it on TV, I just want to be on the pitch. That isn’t a good feeling so yes, we are happy to be back.”
Chelsea’s title success under Antonio Conte last season was helped in part by their absence in Europe and, having missed out on several targets in the transfer window, there are question marks over the Blues’ squad coping with an increased schedule.
But Hazard has no such fears.
“We’ve got seven games in three weeks and it’s completely different from last season, but we are professionals and we understand this kind of situation,” he added.
“We just want to play. If sometimes players are tired, somebody else can come into the team – we don’t have a problem with that.
“Last year we had long weeks to get ready for our Premier League games at the weekend.
“This season will be different because we’ll play on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, but we have a good team and we have a lot of good players and I think the manager knows that.
“He has the experience in both the Premier League and Champions League, so I think we can do that.”
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