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Saturday 10 December 2016

Mourinho: 'Eden best in England'

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard

Jose Mourinho is unequivocal in his support of Eden Hazard and has again insisted there are no fractures in relationships at Chelsea.

The Blues' worst start in 29 years has led to speculation of rifts within the camp, which Mourinho has strenuously denied, while Hazard has struggled to reach the same heights this term.

The Belgian was the Premier League champions' most startling player last season and remains the competition's leading performer ahead of today's clash with Arsenal, according to his manager. "He's the best player in England," said Mourinho. "He is the best and he will be the best again. I don't know if it is tomorrow or if it is next week."

The mood has improved at Chelsea since Wednesday night's Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv, but Mourinho is adamant the talk of a crisis is wrong ahead of the visit of long-time rival Arsene Wenger.

Mourinho listed a series of headlines - some of which have appeared in recent weeks and others to illustrate his reaction - and again denied Steven Gerrard's suggestion of a fallout with captain John Terry. "I don't have any problem with any one of my players," Mourinho said.

"Normally when bad results happen the first thing that comes into your laptops, iPads and pens is to find a dramatic story: 'Somebody punch somebody in the dressing room', 'The manager doesn't want to speak with this guy'.

"'Diego Costa fought with John Terry and before they start the fight they brought a translator for them to understand each other in the fight, because Diego cannot speak English and John cannot speak Spanish'.

"'They organise like Far West duels - at this time we are going to fight, bring a translator to help us'.

"You (the media) always go in this direction, which is funny. The other direction you don't go is the direction which is real. You lose matches, you are affected, you lose confidence, you don't want the ball."

Based on previous comments made by Mourinho, a handshake is likely to be offered to Wenger pre-match.

The Frenchman, who shoved Mourinho in last October's clash at Stamford Bridge, evaded his rival at Wembley when finally ending his 13-match winless run in the Community Shield.

Mourinho was coy on the subject. "I don't think it's important now and I don't think people is focused on that. I think people is focused on what happens on the pitch," Mourinho said.

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