Jose Mourinho told the Telegraph he dropped Eden Hazard from the Champions League match against Schalke because he missed an important training session.
22-Year-old Hazard had to watch the game from the stands due to turning up late at Chelsea’s Cobham training base on Monday. The playmaker reportedly went to watch his former club Lille in France on Sunday and he did not make it back in time to join his team-mates in training.
Mourinho said ‘I don’t want to lie. He’s not injured. He forgot the time. He’s a kid and kids make mistakes and fathers they have to be clever in the way they educate their sons. On Saturday he will be with the team. He will be on the bench or playing, but he will be in the squad for sure.’
Hazard has come under criticism before for his time-keeping with former Belgium coach Georges Leekens stating Hazard had a lack of punctuality and also criticised the player for a lack of effort at club and national level.
Hazards recent performances had led to criticism from Mourinho and from a section of fans, especially after the 2-0 defeat at Newcastle where Mourinho stated he made ’11 mistakes’. Hazard missed a great chance to level for Chelsea in the match and was way below his best. It was speculated that Hazard may have been dropped for the Schalke match regardless of his lateness.
There was not only Hazard’s omission from the starting line-up with Mourinho making a total of six changes from the Newcastle game. Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andre Schurrle, John Obi Mikel, Willian and Eto'o came in, with David Luiz, Ashley Cole, Juan Mata and Frank Lampard dropping to the bench and Fernando Torres was out inured.
Mourinho was full of praise for the players that came in for the 3-0 win. ‘Willian and André Schürrle made fantastic work for us. We have a big squad, we have players with quality, players who sometimes are frustrated because they are not first options but when they are chosen they do so well. The other thing for me is Cesar Azpilicueta played in position which is not his first and he did so well.’
The majority of players left out are expected to return to the first team at the weekend but Hazard may be left out again with David Luiz who has suffered a dip in form.