Olivier Giroud is best target man in world, says Eden Hazard
Chelsea attacker praises his team-mate as London club shoot to top of the table
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud celebrates with Eden Hazard after the Belgian’s goal against Cardiff at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Eden Hazard has hailed Chelsea team-mate Olivier Giroud as the world’s best target man.
World Cup-winning striker Giroud laid on two goals for Hazard as the Belgium playmaker bagged a hat-trick in Chelsea’s 4-1 rout of Cardiff at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Giroud is yet to find the net for Chelsea this season but already has three assists in five Premier League games, with Chelsea boasting a 100 per cent league return under new head coach Maurizio Sarri.
Hazard has found the net five times in as many league matches, and is brimming with confidence after Sarri told him to chase 40 goals this season.
And the 27-year-old was quick to pay tribute to French man Giroud for serving up his first two goals on a plate on Saturday.
“Olivier’s a target man, maybe the best in the world; I think so,” said Hazard.
“When he gets the ball he can hold the ball and we can go in deep with him, so for us it’s a pleasure to play with him.
“When Alvaro [Morata] was playing it’s completely different, he’s a different player than Olivier, but they both have great qualities, so I’m happy to have good strikers in the team.
“The game [against Cardiff] was very tough. We knew, especially after the [international] break, it’s always very hard to play a good game because you are all a bit tired, but at the end we got three points. That’s what is important.
“I think, okay, we can play better, we should play better, but we scored four goals and it’s a good game for us.”
Cardiff took a shock lead through defender Sol Bamba’s tidy finish, as the visitors pulled off a smart training-ground move.
Hazard praised Chelsea for refusing to panic however, with Chelsea hitting back quickly to carry a 2-1 lead into half-time.
“We just keep the ball. We are patient, so we don’t go too fast too early,” Hazard told Chelsea’s official website.
“After 20 minutes the score was 1-0 for Cardiff, but we just kept playing our football and then, when we have the chance, we need to score, and that’s what we did.
“The manager just wants Chelsea to keep the ball, and then when we can find a solution, we need to find good passes between the lines, like Jorginho, [Mateo] Kovacic and [Cesc] Fabregas can do.
“So, we have a lot of good players, and at the moment we are in confidence, so we shoot, we score. We need to keep this momentum.
“We have a lot of freedom on the pitch, not just the three in front but all over the pitch, so when we are in this condition we just need to take the ball and try something, and at the moment something happens, so that is very good.
“When I’m on the pitch I’m just trying to create chances, score goals. A hat-trick comes with confidence, so I will try to do more of this.”