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Tuesday 21 August 2012

Di Matteo says Hazard can get even better

Chelsea manager says playmaker has room for improvement after stunning debut

  • Hazard set up two goals within seven minutes of his Barclays Premier League debut

Roberto Di Matteo is hoping that Eden Hazard will get even better for Chelsea after the new signing’s stunning Barclays Premier League debut.

The Belgium playmaker made a dream start to his Premier League career, claiming two assists inside the opening seven minutes during Sunday's opening 2-0 win against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. The 21-year-old is set to make his home debut against Reading tomorrow evening and the Chelsea manager is looking to the Belgian to continue to star and improve as the season goes on.

"In pre-season, he showed that kind of quality in training,” Di Matteo said. "Now, in the Premier League, hopefully there's more to come from him."

"In pre-season, he showed that kind of quality in training"
Roberto Di Matteo

Hazard's smooth start has helped the Chelsea manager’s options because his other new signings have yet to be fully integrated. Oscar only arrived at Chelsea last week after playing for Brazil during the Olympics, while Marko Marin, who was signed from Werder Bremen, has been sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Di Matteo revealed that Marin may have to wait almost another month to make his debut. "It won't be long for Marin, but it might not be before the international break," he said.

He added of Oscar: "We're slowly looking to integrate him, like we did with the other new signings.

"He's not been long with us, so we need to give him the right time to get him used to his new team members and the team, and our tactics, and slowly put him into the team."

That could mean minimal changes to the side tomorrow. "Sometimes, you look at it and think, 'Don't change a winning team', but it doesn't always work this way,” Di Matteo said. "We'll see for tomorrow. I haven't made our final decision yet. I have to think about it."

Tomorrow's fixture has been brought forward from the first weekend of September due to Chelsea's involvement in the Uefa Super Cup against Atletico Madrid in Monaco a week on Friday.

The scheduling gives the European champions a chance to steal a march on their Premier League title rivals and they will go top of the table providing they do not suffer a shock defeat.

"It's probably better to play this game before rather than being a game behind," said Di Matteo, who refused to read too much into the opening-game defeats of other big teams, such as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. "The first game in the league often has crazy results.

"It's crucial to get a good start. It gives you confidence"
Roberto Di Matteo

"They even themselves up a bit as the season goes along. [But] it's always crucial to get off to a good start. It gives you a bit of confidence and makes you believe you can have a good season."

Di Matteo knows enough about Reading from his time as manager at West Bromwich Albion and so does not to take them lightly.

"I always found it very hard to play against Brian McDermott's team," he said.

You can follow tomorrow evening’s match between Chelsea and Reading in our superb matchday site which offers live commentary, live photos and live statistics as well as the ability to rate the players taking part. Click here also for videos of the managers’ press conferences and other team news, as well as a report after the match.


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Key Points

  • Roberto Di Matteo says Eden Hazard will improve the more experience he gets
  • Marko Marin may wait a month to make his debut because of injury
  • Chelsea manager predicts tough battle against Reading in Wednesday evening fixture