John Terry is confident Eden Hazard can have a key influence for Chelsea when they travel to play Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Belgium international has received his fair share of criticism this season following a number of underwhelming performances, but Terry feels Hazard has shown in recent weeks that he is back to his best again, having helped the reigning champions record a 1-0 win at home to Norwich in the Premier League on Saturday.
The 24-year-old missed a spot-kick in the reverse fixture and Terry has little doubt he will be gunning for revenge when the teams meet again.
“It is a big week now with the Champions League. We have got one win out the way against Norwich with hopefully more to come,” Terry told the official Chelsea website.
“Eden is back to his best and not only on Saturday.
“The last five or six games you have seen from everybody the raising in performances individually and collectively.
“With the win over Norwich, the delight and the relief from the players is there to see.”
Chelsea have every reason to be cautious ahead of the clash in Haifa on Tuesday. Jose Mourinho’s men have won just two of their last 10 away matches in the Champions League, drawing five and losing three, while scoring more than one goal in a game just once in that run.
Mourinho will still be without first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, while Radamel Falcao is unavailable due to a muscle problem.
With seven points from four games, three behind Group G leaders Porto, Chelsea will qualify for the knockout rounds if they win and third-placed Dynamo Kiev fail to do the same in Portugal.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, meanwhile, have little reason for optimism ahead of the visit of Chelsea to the Sammy Ofer Stadium, as they have won just one of their 10 Champions League matches, finding the net in just four of those games.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s men have scored the joint-fewest goals in the Champions League this season (one) and conceded the equal most (11), while they are one of four teams yet to win a game in this season’s group stages, alongside Astana, Borussia Monchengladbach and Lyon.
Chelsea’s only previous visit to Israel was a 2-0 loss at Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the 2001-02 UEFA Cup second round, preceding a 1-1 home draw.
The match on Tuesday represents a reunion for Tal Ben Haim, who had a year at Chelsea in 2007-08, beginning the season under Mourinho before the latter’s departure in September. Terry, John Obi Mikel and Branislav Ivanovic are the only survivors from Ben Haim’s time in West London still at the club.
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