Monday 24 September 2018

Conte refuses to put a price on Hazard's head

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Pic: PA
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. Pic: PA

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has refused to put a price on Eden Hazard.

The 26-year-old Belgium playmaker has scored 10 goals as Chelsea have taken a nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League entering this weekend's fixtures.

Hazard was once valued at "£100million per leg" by Jose Mourinho, but Conte declined to offer a valuation.

"I'm not very good to put a price on a player," said Conte, speaking ahead of tomorrow's trip to Burnley.

"I think Eden, for sure, is a great player. A top player. He's in a level very high.

"But I don't see the problem, because we don't want to sell him. He hasn't a price now."

Hazard scored a stunning solo goal in last week's 3-1 win over Arsenal and was substituted by Conte to avoid injury and so the forward could soak up the acclaim from the Stamford Bridge support.

"I wanted to give him a great applause of our fans," Conte added.

"I think he deserved this for the game that he played, not only with the ball, but above all without the ball.

"When I make a substitution there is always a reason. Sometimes I try to preserve some players. Sometimes there is a technical choice."

The win over Arsenal was Chelsea's 16th in 18 games following successive losses to Liverpool and the Gunners last September.

The only exceptions were the January 4 loss at Tottenham and the draw with Liverpool at Anfield on January 31.


Conte wants Chelsea to carry the momentum into the Burnley clash at Turf Moor tomorrow, where the Clarets have the third best home record in the top flight after the Blues and Tottenham.

Conte said: "When you arrive after two really tough games against Liverpool and Arsenal it's important to keep continuity and to try to win this game. It won't be easy, this.

"The stats show Burnley are a really strong team at home. Burnley took 28 points at home and only one point away.

"They won the last five games (at home). We must pay great attention."

Second-placed Spurs play on Saturday at Liverpool, where victory could cut Chelsea's advantage to six points.

Conte reckons his players can cope with knowing the results of their rivals.

He added: "If we play before or the other teams play before us, the pressure is always the same.

"If the opponent wins the game and reduces the gap. If the opponent doesn't win the game, you have the possibility to take more points.

"I think we have the right experience to live this situation.

"If we think that we have (a lead of) nine points and we are very close to winning the title it's a great mistake.

"There are 14 games to play. They are five teams, with Chelsea six teams, that can fight until the end to win the title. It's important now, don't (make a) great mistake in this race."

Chelsea have no fresh injuries, but defender David Luiz continues to play with pain in his knee following a tackle from Sergio Aguero in December which saw the Manchester City striker sent off.

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