Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho may have played down his side’s Premier League title chances, but in-form forward Eden Hazard admits that he has been dreaming of winning the league.
Hazard’s hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday means that Mourinho’s side will travel to West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday a point clear at the head of the table with a third of the season remaining.
The run-in is about to gather pace and the Belgium winger has revealed that thoughts of lifting the championship trophy are already disturbing his sleep.
Following the weekend win, Hazard told Chelsea TV: “Top of the league. I go in my bed, I dream. I hope at the end of the season it will be the same.
“It’s a pleasure to play for this team and to work for that.”
Hazard’s personal contribution has been one of the main factors underpinning Chelsea’s progress this season and the 23-year-old has been described as the best young player in the world by Mourinho.
“Eden is a great player, he has great confidence as well, and anything he touches at the moment is going for him,” said team-mate Gary Cahill.
“He’s a young player getting better and at the moment he is producing some world-class football for us.
“In the first half (against Newcastle), when we didn’t play particularly well and the game was quite tight, you want that little bit of individual brilliance and Eden produced that for us with two goals in which he was heavily involved in the build-up and he finished them.
“He has adapted to the league very well, he is a special player, and he thoroughly deserved his hat-trick.”
While Chelsea are on an outstanding run that has yielded eight wins and two draws in their last 10 league games, they face a West Brom side who slid into the bottom three following their weekend loss at Crystal Palace.
The form book suggests a comfortable win for the league leaders, but Cahill insists that there is no chance of complacency creeping in.
“We got credit for the performance against Manchester City last week (a 1-0 win), but we didn’t want to sit back and rest on our laurels,” he said.
“It is all about momentum for us. There is no better feeling than winning football matches and at the minute we are getting some good results and we want to keep that feeling going.”
West Brom head coach Pepe Mel says that his players must quickly turn around their fortunes after slipping into the bottom three.
The 3-1 defeat at Palace left them with just one victory from 15 Premier League games and Mel with two points from a possible 12 since taking charge.
“For me it’s early, it’s like pre-season, but there are no friendly matches,” he said. “The matches are all important.
“I hope it comes together soon because we need to win three points soon. West Brom need to be in the Premier League next season.”
West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster admits that his side cannot allow themselves to start against Chelsea like they did at the weekend, when they fell 2-0 down to Palace within the opening 27 minutes.
“We can’t let it get to the point when we are one or two goals down in a game and then finally make a push for the game. We need to go from the very first minute,” he said.
“We have to remain positive and take the second-half performance into the Chelsea game.”