Chelsea recruit Hazard promises better to come
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Wigan Athletic's Scottish midfielder James McArthur (L) vies for the ball with Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard during their English Premier League football match at The DW stadium in Wigan, north-west England on August 19, 2011. AFP photoEden Hazard insists there is more to come after his sparkling Premier League debut - but is adamant he has no concerns about handling the physical nature of English football.
The Chelsea playmaker, 21, wasted no time making his mark following his 32 million summer move from Lille, setting up two goals inside seven minutes of his side's league opener at Wigan.
Hazard's contribution ensured Roberto Di Matteo's side got off to a winning start and they will attempt to build on that success when Reading visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
His eye-catching efforts also made him the target for some heavy challenges, but the Belgium international was quick to dismiss the attention he received.
He said: "I already had a taste of these kind of tackles in the Community Shield.
"I was kicked quite a bit in the first half against Wigan but, in France, it was already like that for me.
"I wasn't aware I was the most fouled player in the match, I wasn't counting them." Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar are expected to contest the positions in support of the main striker Fernando Torres and the Belgian believes it will take time to properly bed in.
He added: "There are still a lot of things I can do better. I lost a lot of balls in the second half, but I contributed what was asked of me. I was asked to be decisive and I was, with the penalty and an assist." "I started as the number 10 and then afterwards with Mata, we tried to interchange positions rather than stay in the same place and I think we worked rather well.
"Oscar has just arrived and we haven't had the time to work together. We have only had one training session so far but, little by little, we should get things to where they should be." Drawing the best from his new players is one of the challenges confronting Di Matteo but defender Branislav Ivanovic is convinced the arrival of the new players can boost the club's title challenge.
The Serbia international said: "Do the new players excite everyone? Yes, of course.
"You have to have a big and good enough squad and that is what we have.
"The new players are great. During the pre-season, they have shown they have fantastic quality and we have changed a lot as a team because all of them are so creative.
"They have given us the pace we needed. They are great players and every team needs this kind of quality." Oscar could make his full debut following his substitute appearance at Wigan while fellow Brazilian Ramires comes back into contention after illness.
Chelsea will be expected to maintain their 100 percent start against newly promoted Reading who started the campaign with a home draw against Stoke City on the opening day.
Brian McDermott's side emerged as the surprise winners of the Championship last season and, after finding their feet against Stoke, keeper Adam Federici insists they won't be overawed by the prospect of facing the Champions League winners.
He said: "I'm looking forward to the challenge and I am sure all the other boys will be. I've played against Torres before in a cup game and he scored a hat-trick, it will be a good test for us. "The boys worked extremely hard against Stoke, they are a big strong team and we matched them in every department. We got the deserved point and looking back we were a bit unlucky not to get all three."