• Premier League

Hazard unconcerned by rough reception

ESPN staff
August 21, 2012
Eden Hazard was on form against Wigan © PA Photos

New Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard has insisted he can handle the hard tackling after being subjected to a baptism of fire against Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

Hazard, who joined Chelsea from Lille in the summer, shrugged off a challenge from Ivan Ramis at the DW to create the opener for Branislav Ivanovic before the same defender caught him to hand the visitors a penalty. He was subjected to a series of rough tackles throughout the game and was the most fouled player in the match.

And the Belgium international says there is much more to come from him after he played a starring role in the 2-0 win over Wigan which earned plaudits from manager Roberto Di Matteo, team-mates and pundits.

"It doesn't worry me, I already had a taste of these kind of tackles in the Community Shield," he is quoted as saying in the Sun. "I was kicked quite a bit in the first half against Wigan, but in France it was already like that for me. I wasn't aware I was the most fouled player in the match - I wasn't counting them.

"From the start of the game you could see the way I play and the most important thing is I'm not injured. But there are a lot of things I can do better. I lost a lot of balls in the second half but I contributed what was asked of me.

"I was asked to be decisive and I was, by winning the penalty and an assist for the first goal. I started as the No. 10, and then afterwards with Juan Mata, we tried to interchange positions rather than stay in the same place. I think we worked rather well.

"Oscar has just arrived and we haven't had the time to work together. We have had only one training session but little by little we'll get things to where they should be.

"There are loads of possibilities. Ryan Bertrand was on the left against Wigan and Daniel Sturridge can play there as well and the coach won't hesitate to change things. He will just put the best players on the pitch.

"Our preparation was very good. Physically speaking, I feel impeccable."

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