(Reuters) - Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has no problems being one of the most fouled players in English soccer’s top flight as the physical aspect of the game, he says, brings out the best in him.
Hazard has been at the heart of Chelsea’s rise to the top of the table, having scored 10 goals and provided six assists in his 23 Premier League starts.
“But it’s true, when I get a lot of kicks, I feel really in the game. And when people don’t touch me, it tells me I‘m not doing well. No good,” Hazard told the Guardian.
“I‘m not saying I like to be kicked, but it’s good for me to feel I am in the game. Definitely. A motivation. I try to be this kind of player: the type who does something whenever he gets the ball.”
Manager Antonio Conte’s demanding personality has forced Hazard to develop his all-round game and the fleet-footed `forward admits he is now reaping the benefits.
“These days I‘m always trying to have lots of touches, to be involved and to play my football for 90 minutes. The manager asks a lot of me. A lot,” he said.
”When we don’t have the ball, he wants me to defend, to close inside and when we do have it I have to counterattack and be free, always trying to do some ‘magic’.
“With experience, you improve. I‘m a better player now, more complete than I was when I was player of the year.”
Chelsea, who have a comfortable nine point cushion over second-placed Tottenham Hotspur after 24 games, travel to face Burnley on Sunday.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru