• Champions League

Benitez wants more from Hazard

ESPN staff
December 5, 2012
Eden Hazard has not yet delivered on the brilliance he showed at Lille © PA Photos

Rafael Benitez is convinced his creative trio of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard can play together in the centre of Chelsea's midfield - but feels the latter is struggling to adapt to life in the Premier League.

The trio were key players under Roberto Di Matteo, operating in behind Fernando Torres, but the change in management has prompted a shift in thinking - with Ryan Bertrand and Victor Moses handed chances to start in recent games.

Benitez, though, has suggested the three will get the chance to play together at some stage - with the Spaniard still assessing his options at Stamford Bridge.

"In a game in which you can be in possession, you can use them all," Benitez said ahead of Chelsea's must-win Champions League clash with FC Nordsjaelland. "If it is a game you have to manage because the opposition are physically strong then you may have another approach, but they can play together because they are very good players.

"I can see the quality of these three players and when the team is in possession they are very dangerous, so we have to find the balance.

"You have to manage the squad and if you have some other good players, you have to use them if you want to stay fine until the end of the season when you have to fight for trophies."

I can see the quality of these three players and when the team is in possession they are very dangerous

Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in the summer and Benitez feels it has been a tough transition for a player he rates extremely highly.

"I saw the player's evolution in Lille," Benitez said of Hazard. "I was following him when he was 19 and he was a good player but after that he was even better and he can change a game.

"He is a great player but he has to adapt also to the tempo of the Premier League, it is not the same way to play [as in France].

"At Lille he knew he was the key player and the way he was playing was with this feeling - 'I am the best player and I will do what I want to do and it will be right'.

"Here you come to the maximum level in the Premier League and Champions League. You have to be always at your best and sometimes you cannot make the difference.

"It is something that he will see and learn from and he is doing well, but he can still do better because he is a great player."

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