Hazard still doubtful for Chelsea’s Champions League clash with Atletico
Eden Hazard "remains a doubt" for Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final first leg trip to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.
The 23-year-old Belgium playmaker was named on the PFA Players’ Player of the Year shortlist on Friday, before Blues’ assistant coach Steve Holland ruled him out of action in the weekend league battle with Sunderland.
Holland revealed Hazard is yet to make a return to full training, leaving him in a fitness race for Tuesday’s trip to Spain.
"Eden Hazard won’t be fit for tomorrow, but everyone else trained today, so we’re not in bad shape," said Holland.
"I wouldn’t say he is definitely out at this stage, but the fact that he hasn’t yet trained with the group would suggest he still remains a doubt."
Boss Jose Mourinho’s vast experience of launching successful trophy bids on multiple fronts could prove crucial as Chelsea chase both Premier League and Champions League crowns.
"Experience is always vital in any competition and we have a good blend in our squad," said Holland.
"We have many players that haven’t been in this situation before, but also a good group that have.
"We also have a very experienced manager who has been in this situation before, and it’s good to have that experience at this stage.
"We’ve got the circumstances we have: this is a club used to playing a lot of matches at this stage of the season.
"Last season we got to the final of the Europa League which was 15 extra matches, the year before we had 13 for the Champions League. We’re in a situation we’ve been in in before.
"When Roberto was manager in 2012 we played Spurs at Tottenham on a Sunday evening, where the game could have gone to penalties.
"We then played Barcelona in the Champions League on the Wednesday then Arsenal at the Emirates for a vital game for fourth, then Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
"We realised to have any chance in the Nou Camp, to have the energy required to get over the line in that tie, something had to give.
"We made eight changes for Arsenal, we still drew the game, but something had to give.
"As you know we just managed to scrape over the line in the Nou Camp.
"It’s a really challenging period emotionally; you’ve got to have experienced it to appreciate what it takes out of the players.
"That makes the challenge more difficult, but it’s the way it is, it’s something we’ve done before, we’ve got a good squad and we’ve got to do it again."