Eden Hazard is back among “the very best in the world”, according to John Terry.
Hazard toiled for 27 Premier League matches without a goal last season before breaking that drought with a brace at Bournemouth in April.
The 25-year-old struggled for form both before and after Jose Mourinho’s December sacking, as Chelsea slumped to a 10th-place finish last term.
Hazard has no such goal drought worries this season though, after netting a penalty in the Blues’ 2-1 season-opening win over West Ham, that left Terry hailing the Belgium playmaker’s return to form.
“He’s up there with the very best in the world for me,” Terry told Chelsea’s official website.
“We relied on him too much last season and he can’t do it all on his own even though he almost does.
“He’s a world-class player and we’re very lucky to have him.”
Diego Costa’s controversial late winner handed Antonio Conte victory on his first Premier League match at the Chelsea helm.
James Collins blasted a second-half equaliser for West Ham only for Costa to net the winner a minute from time – when he arguably should not have been on the pitch.
The 27-year-old striker was lucky to escape a second yellow card for a rash lunge on West Ham goalkeeper Adrian, and rubbed salt into the wound by sealing Chelsea’s last-gasp victory.
Chelsea captain Terry insisted however that all that matters is the win that builds early momentum under new Italian boss Conte.
“It was very important to get off to a good start,” said Terry.
“The way we started and ended last season wasn’t good enough by our own standards.
“We said before the game that whether we won lost or drew that was the type of fight and commitment we want from everyone.
“We dug in, it was a big London derby and it means a lot to players and supporters.
“It was great for the management to get off to a good start as well.”