Chelsea not surprised by Hazard’s impact

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Hazard_Penalty REUTERS Chelsea's Eden Hazard scores a penalty against Newcastle United.

London – Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo says he is not surprised by the immediate impact Eden Hazard has had on the Premier League.

The Belgium attacker scored his first Chelsea goal and contributed another assist in the Blues' 2-0 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday.

The 21-year-old has wasted no time settling into life at Stamford Bridge following his £32 million summer move from Lille.

“He hasn't surprised us. We had watched him a lot last season,” said Di Matteo.

“It's a different league, so you're not quite sure how he'll adapt to the Premier League, but he seems to have found his feet very quickly. He's a wonderful player for us.

“Eden has created a lot of chances, but it was good for him to get his first goal.

“The understanding with Juan Mata, Eden and all the midfield players, the whole team has shown they can play comfortably with each other.”

Newcastle's Alan Pardew became the latest opposition manager to voice his admiration for the player.

And he believes the presence of Hazard has made Chelsea – who have won their first three league games – a more formidable side.

Pardew said: “He's a difficult player because he travels with the ball and bides his time. He's got a kind of nonchalance about him that marks him out as a great player.

“He made the right decision every time he got it today. That's what marks him out as a great player, you can tell. He made a difference to Chelsea today, from last season.

“He's given them a little bit extra. They're an organised team who played well today, and defended well. Our movement was good, but they were pretty sound defensively.”

Fernando Torres got the second goal after Hazard had converted a 21st-minute penalty as Chelsea continued their impressive start, which prompted Di Matteo to declare that there will be no more new signings before the transfer deadline.

Di Matteo said: “I'm very happy with the squad. We've made some intelligent signings, some very exciting young players who will give us a foundation for the future. I'm happy with the squad, yes.”

Chelsea's latest acquisitions, Victor Moses and Cesar Azpilicueta, were paraded in front of the fans at Stamford Bridge prior to Saturday's game.

Pardew refused to rule out making a move in the transfer market and admitted he would like to see Andy carroll return to the club from Liverpool.

He said: “That (Carroll) deal is above me. It's a deal that would be done at board level, financially, between Liverpool and Newcastle.

“But of course I would like Carroll. He would add a nice dimension for me.”

Pardew was pleased with his side's improved second-half performance but blamed the demands of the Europa League trip to Greece 48 hours before this game for the lacklustre first half.

He said: “Today was a bit unfair on us. We couldn't get the game on a Sunday because of the Notting Hill carnival (in London). The police couldn't quite do all the games.

“It would have been nice to have that extra day's rest. We know from our own stats that professional players cannot play at the same level for two games in three days. We were a bit unlucky today.” – Sapa-AFP


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