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Mourinho urges referees to protect Chelsea winger Hazard
LONDON: Eden Hazard has asked Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to find him shin pads that also protect the back of his legs after suffering a record number of fouls in the Premier League and European competition this season.
Mourinho, who urged referees to offer the tricky Belgium forward more protection, said Hazard suffered from dangerous fouls and from sneaky, tactical challenges to prevent him racing away from defenders on the counter-attack.
‘He told me to speak with my friends that make carbon shin pads to try to make some for the back like a horse that does jumping because he also gets fouled from behind,’ the Portuguese told reporters ahead of today’s home game against Burnley,
Hazard, 24, holds the record for the most fouls suffered in the Premier League, at 74 a full 14 more than second-placed Raheem Sterling of Liverpool.
Against Paris St Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday the Chelsea player was crunched nine times.
Mourinho bemoaned the fact that, because Hazard was an honest player who tried to stay on his feet, opponents often escaped sanction.
‘He should be the player that creates more yellow cards from opponents but he doesn’t,’ Mourinho said.
‘Eden wants to play. Eden doesn’t want people to get a red card … did you see a referee give a penalty for a player that didn’t go (down)?.’
Mourinho said Hazard attracted strategic fouls because of his skill and quick feet.
‘Referees have to understand exactly that. Sometimes little fouls are big fouls in the context of the game … it can be a small foul but it stops the counter-attack,’ he added.
‘I think Eden is punished in both ways. He’s punished by aggression. In Paris he had nine fouls but three of them are very bad fouls, very dangerous fouls and he can do nothing.’
Mourinho said it was perfectly normal that some players attracted more attention from defenders and were double marked.
‘But after that there are fouls and the fouls need to be punished,’ he explained, adding that dangerman Hazard was clearly a lucky player because he hadn’t been seriously injured.
‘He deserves to be lucky.’
Chelsea go into today’s game holding a seven-point lead at the top of the table. (Reuters)