The Belgian has been a major concern for the Portuguese manager every time his Manchester United have faced Chelsea this season and Tony Evans of the Evening Standard believes there’s every chance it will continue.
“Since leaving Chelsea, Mourinho has not enjoyed his encounters with the winger,” Evans wrote. “In their first Premier League meeting in October, Hazard’s movement, pace and trickery confounded the United defence as the Blues routed their rivals 4-0. Last month in the FA Cup quarter-finals the Special One had a special plan for the Belgian — kick him up in the air. The United players appeared to be working to a rota, taking turns to rough up Hazard in the hope that the referee would not notice the persistent targeting of Chelsea’s danger man. That did not succeed and Mourinho was lucky to leave west London with a 1-0 defeat. United could have been embarrassed again.”
There’s definitely a lot at stake when Chelsea visit Old Trafford on Sunday for both clubs and for both men in question.
“Hazard would enjoy denting United’s top four hopes almost as much as Mourinho would relish stopping Chelsea’s title charge,” Evans added. “Before the FA Cup tie last month there was a buzz around Stamford Bridge. The word was that the 26-year-old was ready to put on a show against his former boss. It was payback time. From the moment he sprinted out of the tunnel for his warm-up, Hazard looked like a man on a mission. If he approaches the match at Old Trafford in the same manner then Mourinho is in trouble.”
It’s difficult to see how Mourinho and his guys can contain the Belgian.
“Can the United manager put the brakes on his former player?” Evans asked. “The only time Mourinho has been able to stop Hazard was when he was manager of Chelsea. Then he could bench the winger. When the pair have been in opposition, Mourinho’s plans have proved merely to be a brutal form of damage limitation.
“The Chelsea man is unplayable at his best. Old Trafford is the perfect stage for him to put on a show. He could leave United’s top-four hopes in ruins. If Hazard’s heart is set on proving his ex-boss wrong, then Mourinho has only himself to blame.”
By Frank Iyke