Hazard: Derby win is imperative

Eden Hazard believes a Chelsea victory over West Ham on Sunday is imperative in their bid to finish in the top four.

Last Updated: 15/03/13 at 17:05 Post Comment

Eden Hazard: Desperate for win over West Ham

Eden Hazard: Desperate for win over West Ham

Eden Hazard believes a Chelsea victory over West Ham on Sunday is imperative as the Blues seek to secure a Champions League place.

Last season's Champions League winners will bid to carry the momentum from a successful week into the Premier League clash after keeping alive their two remaining quests for silverware.

Chelsea fought back from two goals down to draw with Manchester United and force an FA Cup quarter-final replay, which - coupled with their progression to the Europa League quarter-finals, where Russians Rubin Kazan await - means Rafael Benitez's side face six games in 16 days.

The international break which follows Sunday's derby with the Hammers offers a pause for breath but first the Blues will seek to enhance their place in the top four as they bid to secure Champions League qualification.

"Three points are a must for us on Sunday - we need to win the match," Hazard, who scored in the Old Trafford fightback, said on Chelsea's official website.

"Chelsea are a big club - we have to win titles and to qualify for the Champions League. There's a lot to do but we'll try to do it all."

Hazard believes the close proximity of last night's 3-1 win over Steaua Bucharest, which secured a place in the Europa League last eight 3-2 on aggregate, could benefit Chelsea against a Hammers side who will be playing just their second match of the month.

"It might favour us at the start of the game because we should be able to set the tempo and get into our stride quicker because we've been more used to playing competitive games recently," Hazard said.

"But where it might favour them slightly is the fact that towards the end of the game tiredness may set in for us, while in effect they should be stronger because they've had a bit of a rest.

"It's something we have to deal with, and with the support of our fans behind us I'm sure we will be able to."

Chelsea suffered the first defeat of Benitez's tenure at Upton Park in December, despite entering half-time leading 1-0.

"At Upton Park, one or two errors crept in, particularly during the second half, but we were very good in the first half," Hazard said.

"We need to try to repeat that first-half display on Sunday and make sure we get a positive result. We are going into the game in good form, so we should be able to produce a strong performance."

There is no doubt Champions League qualification is a must for the Blues - the consequences of missing out could be great - and the fixture schedule is a challenge.

The first leg with Rubin Kazan, who beat Spain's Levante, follows two matches in three days - against Southampton in the Premier League and Manchester United in the FA Cup.

The second leg takes place three days prior to the crucial Premier League fixture at home to top-four rivals Tottenham.

The away fixture could take place in either Kazan or Moscow, with a decision to be made by UEFA shortly.

"From a geographical point of view we probably would have preferred a different draw," Hazard said. "We have to get through and playing in Russia is never an easy game.

"However, we have to make sure we do enough in the first leg to go over there and secure our place in the semi-finals."

If Chelsea reach the Europa League and FA Cup finals, the season will stretch to 70 matches, with Benitez already facing a challenge to best utilise a squad short on options.

Demba Ba is poised to return up front against the Hammers, even though Fernando Torres scored and missed a penalty against Steaua, while Frank Lampard was an unused substitute against the Romanians yet could be back against his former club as he seeks his 200th Chelsea goal.

Ramires, who could make way for Lampard, provided his backing for Benitez, who has been derided by many at Stamford Bridge due to his prior association with Liverpool.

"There's no time to celebrate - the games are coming one after the other," the Brazil midfielder said on UEFA's website.

"Benitez is the coach and we have to do what he says because he wants the best for the team. There isn't anyone better than him to tell us what is best.

"The players try not to get involved in this issue. As long as he's here the players will seek to support him because he's our manager and we want to win."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

O

ne of the conclusions from this list is that Man City should never buy a striker in January - good luck Wilfried Bony....

Savinator
F365's Top Ten Worst January Panic Buys

I

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

Footer 365

Capital One Cup: Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to avoid a red card

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Chelsea's Diego Costa was lucky to stay on the field in the Capital One Cup semi-final.

Capital One Cup: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists Diego Costa does not deserve retrospective action after Emre Can stamp

Jose Mourinho thinks Chelsea's Diego Costa should be left alone to play football after a controversial outing on Tuesday.

Referee Michael Oliver to make final call on Diego Costa 'stamp' ahead of Chelsea-Manchester City game

Referee Michael Oliver will have the final say on whether Diego Costa is banned for this weekend's game against Manchester City.

Mail Box

The Problem With FA Cup Shocks...

...is that the draw for the next round is pretty shocking. Blackburn v Stoke, anybody? We also have mails on LVG and ManUnited, who drew plenty under Fergie...

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company