Hazard understands semi-final benching

23 April 2017 09:45

Chelsea star Eden Hazard said he understood and accepted Antonio Conte’s decision to start him on the bench in their FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham.

Hazard and Diego Costa were surprisingly left out of the starting XI for Chelsea’s 4-2 victory at Wembley on Saturday.

Both came on for the final half-hour, with Hazard’s 75th-minute goal putting his side ahead before Nemanja Matic wrapped up the victory in stunning fashion.

Hazard, arguably the best player in the Premier League this season, said he knew why Conte left him out of the XI.

“I think it’s the choice of the manager. He told me and Diego [on Friday] because Tuesday we play such an important game [against Southampton],” the Belgium international said.

“We have a lot of players in the squad. Willian played in my position and scored two goals, so they deserved to play.”

Willian twice put Chelsea ahead, but his goals were cancelled out by Harry Kane and Dele Alli.

Hazard made a telling impact off the bench and said he simply wanted to contribute however he could.

“When I go on the bench, when I am on the pitch, my thing is always the same,” he said. “I’m trying to win games, to create some chance, to score some goals, and I did.”

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