Eden Hazard critical of Chelsea’s tactics

Winger claims he is being asked to do it “all by myself” after Atletico defeat

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard reacts at the end of their Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard reacts at the end of their Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid. Photograph: Sergio Perez/Reuters

Thu, May 1, 2014, 11:24

Eden Hazard became the latest critic of Jose Mourinho’s tactical methods after Chelsea exited the Champions League last night. The Blues were criticised for defensive tactics employed in the semi-final first leg at Atletico Madrid and in the Premier League win at Liverpool before tumbling out of Europe following a 3-1 home loss.

The Belgian winger, whose defensive lapse allowed Atletico to equalise in the first half, also suggested he was being asked to shoulder too much of the attacking responsibility by himself.

“I don’t know what we lacked,” he added.

“After scoring, we had the game in our hands. Maybe they wanted it more than we did. It was an intense game, beautiful to watch with opportunities.

“I’m sad but logic has been respected because they deserved to qualify. Chelsea is not made to play football. We’re good on the counter, a little bit like Real against Bayern.

“We did it well tonight since we scored. But their goal hurt us before the break. We failed to make the difference in the second half. Often, I’m asked to do it all by myself and it’s not easy. It was a complicated game. It will be a lesson for us regarding next year.”

Jose Mourinho said he believed one minute decided Chelsea’s fate after Atletico won the semi-final second leg 3-1 to set up a derby final with rivals Real.

With the contest tied at 1-1 and Atletico heading through on away goals Chelsea had a chance to go in front for a second time, but Thibaut Courtois, playing against his parent club, saved a John Terry header.

Atletico advanced down the other end and substitute Samuel Eto’o tripped Diego Costa, with the striker coveted by Chelsea converting the penalty to take his side 2-1 up and effectively end the contest and send the Primera Division leaders through to the May 24th final in Lisbon.

“In one minute two actions decided the game,” Mourinho said. “Atletico’s goalkeeper makes an impossible save from John Terry’s header and instead of 2-1 to Chelsea, a few seconds later a penalty.

“The save is amazing and the penalty is a penalty.

“After that, there was only one team on the pitch. We had immediately the feeling the game was lost.

“They had the feeling the game was in their hands, and, after that they were very solid, very mature, a real team.”

Uefa had intervened to allow Courtois to play against Chelsea amid reports of a contractual clause, but Mourinho had no animosity over the situation regarding the Belgian, who was playing his first game at Stamford Bridge on his third successive season on loan in Spain.

Mourinho added: “No, no, he’s the Atletico goalkeeper, playing for Atletico and he did his job.”

Mourinho’s defence, with captain Terry back sooner than expected after an ankle injury sustained in the first leg, was less impressive than earlier this season, but the Blues boss refused to attribute blame.

“I’m not going in that direction now,” Mourinho said. “I said yesterday in the press conference every one of my players was ready.

“Every one of my players tried the maximum. Eto’o was here today almost without one training session, Oscar on the bench and he was injured.

“We had so many problems, but the players gave everything. I’m happy with them. They can go home sad, obviously, but with clean faces. They did their work well.

“They lost, but they lost against a very good team. And that’s football.” Unless

Fernando Torres scored against his former club to put Chelsea in front, but Adrian swiftly equalised and it was that period before the interval which Atletico boss Diego Simeone felt was decisive.

“The reaction to the first goal was crucial,” Simeone said. “At 2-1 it settled the game and from then on we controlled the game.”

Simeone believes the introduction of Eto’o helped Atletico. He said: “We benefited greatly from that, in the fact they had Eto’o, Torres and (Eden) Hazard, because they played in the high line which left us more space to control the game.”

Real await in the final.

“We know each other very well,” Simeone added. “They’re a very powerful club used to those big European nights. It’s been many years for us as a club, so it’ll be a new experience. But we’re keen and excited to play well.” ends

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