Eden Hazard ‘proved to manager he deserves more opportunities’: Courtois, Kroos and Ancelotti’s reactions

He probably wasn’t even dreaming of it himself. Left on the bench at kick-off, Eden Hazard was unexpectedly propelled into the Champions League match against Celtic Glasgow … thanks to Karim Benzema’s injury exit. To his delight, the Brainois therefore entered the game in the 30th minute with a chance to be seized for an hour.

“The first five minutes were difficult, but when he got into the game he was very important for us”debriefs his friend and team-mate Thibaut Courtois, who refers to a missed shot just after he came on, but was followed by several good moves, including a splendid through pass for Vinicius Junior. “It wasn’t easy coming on after the substitution and he struggled in the first half, but in the second he was key as he provided the assist for the second goal and scored the third”rejoices his trainer Carlo Ancelotti.

“The penalty against Celta affected him a bit”

Until now, Ancelotti had only granted Hazard half an hour of play against Almeria and then ten minutes at Celta Vigo, during which he missed a penalty. “That penalty against Celta affected him a bit and then he didn’t play the last two La Liga games”observes Thibaut Courtois. “But he is a great player and he is very talented. The assist and the goal show who he is. He will be happy and he has proven to the manager that he deserves more opportunities”.

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“When he plays in this position, defenders are not used to it”

The Madrid number 7 evolved throughout the game in a false 9 position to which he might have to get used. “He can’t play like a typical centre-forward, but he can move and help retain possession”analyzes Carlo Ancelotti. “He can’t have a fixed position with opposing defenders, but the fact that he moves helps us get the ball off and, moreover, when he plays in that position, defenders aren’t used to it.”

It is true that his position on the ground has often evolved. The geographical distribution of his 45 touches of the ball confirms that he very often picked up or swapped to find himself on one side and go get the balls. “The doubts were never linked to his talent, but to his physical condition and injuries. He came into play very well tonight and I hope he can continue like this,” rejoiced his teammate Toni Kroos. “He’s an important player for us and now he has to continue”punctuates his trainer.

And Benzema? “It does not seem to me to be of concern”

However, it remains to be seen whether this superb entry will be rewarded this Sunday when Mallorca welcomes them to the league. This will depend in particular on the physical form of Karim Benzema. “It does not seem to me to be of concern”thinks Carlo Ancelotti. “We are waiting for Wednesday to find out more, but the first assessment does not seem serious. We have to wait until tomorrow. It is not clear if it is muscular or in the knee.”

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