Hiddink confident Hazard will shine again

Chelsea's Oscar scoring their first goal against MK Dons in the FA Cup fourth round. The Blues won 5-1 with Oscar scoring a hat-trick.
Chelsea's Oscar scoring their first goal against MK Dons in the FA Cup fourth round. The Blues won 5-1 with Oscar scoring a hat-trick. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Guus Hiddink believes Eden Hazard's first goal of the season will help the Chelsea forward return to his best.

Hazard scored a second-half penalty, ending a run of 29 club appearances without a goal, during the 5-1 FA Cup victory over Milton Keynes Dons to set up a home meeting with Manchester City in the fifth round.

The Belgium international was making his first start since picking up an injury at Crystal Palace four weeks ago and after struggling for form during the opening half of the season, Hiddink believes the player is ready to put a difficult period behind him.

Hazard was handed the chance to break his barren run when he was brought down in the 55th minute and urged to take the penalty by his team-mates.

"He has had a difficult time, with injuries," said Hiddink, the Chelsea interim manager. "We have a hierarchy for penalties, with Oscar at the top, but they gave him this penalty. So it's good for him to score.

"He's coming back now after a long absence, and he needs the rhythm of these games. He had more than an hour to help his rhythm, and that's a plus for the upcoming games."

  • FA Cup 5th-round draw

    •Chelsea v Manchester City

    •Reading v West Brom or Peterborough United

    •Watford v Leeds United

    •Shrewsbury Town v Manchester United

    •Blackburn Rovers v Liverpool or West Ham

    •Tottenham v Crystal Palace

    •Arsenal v Hull City

    •Bournemouth v Everton

    Ties to be played on Feb 20-21.

Alexandre Pato was in the stands at Stadium MK to watch his new team-mates after completing a six-month loan move from Corinthians on Friday. But Hiddink insists he will have to assess the fitness of the Brazilian and fellow new signing Matt Miazga, the American centre-back, before deciding when to integrate the players into his squad.

A first-half hat-trick from Oscar laid the foundations for Sunday's win with Bertrand Traore completing the scoring. Darren Potter had equalised for the second-tier side before the floodgates opened.

Hiddink, who won the competition during his previous spell when Chelsea defeated Everton 2-1 in the 2009 Cup final, expects his side to face a tougher challenge in the fifth round.

Chelsea and City were also drawn together in 2013 and 2014, with City knocking Chelsea out of the competition on both occasions.

"It's a final," he said. "It's a huge game so we start the final in the next round."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'Hiddink confident Hazard will shine again'. Print Edition | Subscribe