Eden Hazard has moved to once more deny a falling-out between himself and Jose Mourinho, claiming he was always close to his former manager during their time together at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea star was named PFA Player of the Year during the 2014-15 season after helping his side to a fourth Premier League title, but the Belgian went off the boil last term with Mourinho dismissed midway through the campaign.
Hazard has returned to the high standards he set as the Blues became champions, which has led to renewed suggestions that player power was an issue towards the end of Mourinho’s second reign in west London.
But the dynamic forward has hit back at claims he didn’t see eye-to-eye with his former manager, who left the club in the 16th place and one point above the relegation zone.
‘With Jose I had a super rapport,’ he explained to TF1’s Telefoot. ‘The year before, I was the Player of the Season and maybe he expected more from me. I was not so good and it was complicated.
‘I was always close with him and with Antonio Conte it’s the same.’
Chelsea have lost two of their last four Premier League games to leave the door ajar for second-placed Tottenham, with the gap now four points, but Hazard and his team-mates will turn the attentions to trying to beat Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final this weekend.
Hazard, who is the running for the PFA Player of the Year this season and was named in the Team of the Year on Thursday, is full of admiration for current manager Conte, and he wouldn’t be drawn on his preferred boss at the Bridge.
Asked to describe how the Italian manager differs from his predecessor, the 26-year-old stated: ‘They have different methods. Conte works a great deal on tactics but Mourinho let it be.
‘For me, I had great moments with Mourinho for two years and this year with Conte everything is going very well. I always take the positive from coaches.
‘The two are different managers. They have always won, here and in the past. Many people said I didn’t listen to Mourinho, but that’s not the case. It’s not at all the case, I’ve always had a lot of respect for him.’
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