Jose Mourinho has said defensive tactics was the reason why he left Eden Hazard out of Chelsea’s starting line-up as the Premier League champions returned from international break with a 2-0 victory against Aston Villa.
Hazard was a surprise omission from the Blues starting 11 on Saturday, but it seemed the Blues thrived in his absence as an opener from returning Diego Costa and a deflected own goal from Alan Hutton secured a very needed three points to ease the pressure on Jose Mourinho.
It was just the clubs third league victory of a campaign which has seen them have their worst start to a season in 37 years and Blues boss Mourinho left nothing out as to why Hazard had been forced to watch all but the last seven minutes of the game from the bench.
“I left out Hazard because we are conceding lots of goals. We need to defend better,” said Mourinho.
“We need our midfielders to be just worried in the central area of the pitch, not worrying about compensation on the left or right.
“Playing with Willian and Pedro, the midfielders don’t have to move left or right. They know those parts are controlled.
“Pedro and Willian did amazing work and allowed the midfielders to be very comfortable. It was a tactical decision. Leaving super quality on the bench, but bringing tactical discipline and hoping the team could be solid.
“Today I made this decision. I have other possibilities. I have to try and make the best decision for the team.
“I told the players that this is not the moment to think about themselves or their personal situation, a moment to moan or try to be selfish in the approach. This is a moment for the team, just the team, and nothing else.
“I asked them exactly that, to look at the picture in a different way than in a normal situation.
“When we have better stability in our confidence levels, then we’ll go back to what we were.”