Hazard hasn't even started yet! Di Matteo tips new recruit to improve with Chelsea
14:51 GMT, 21 August 2012
Roberto Di Matteo has backed Eden Hazard to get even better for Chelsea following the 32million man's stunning Barclays Premier League debut.
Hazard made a dream start to life in England's top flight during Sunday's opening 2-0 win at Wigan, claiming two assists inside the opening seven minutes at the DW Stadium.
And Blues fans only have to wait until Wednesday to see the 21-year-old's home debut when Reading visit Stamford Bridge.
Winning start: Roberto Di Matteo was pleased with the performances of Eden Hazard and Oscar
Reflecting on Hazard's performance on Sunday, manager Di Matteo said: 'He left his mark on the game. In pre-season, he showed that kind of quality in training.
'Now, in the Premier League, hopefully there's more to come from him.'
That could depend on how Hazard deals with the kind of rough treatment dished out to him by Wigan on Sunday, something he shrugged off afterwards.
Di Matteo was also unconcerned that his new playmaker could find himself a marked man.
He said: 'He was certainly targeted, but I don't think there was any malicious intent by the Wigan players. It's just difficult to mark players like that.'
It is just as well Hazard looks like settling in so quickly, with Oscar having only arrived at Chelsea last week and fellow new boy Marko Marin 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.
Good on the ball: Eden Hazard impressed on Sunday
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 against Reading.
Di Matteo said: 'Sometimes, you look at it and think, “Don't change a winning team”, but it doesn't always work this way.
'We'll see. I haven't made our final decision yet. I have to think about it.'
Two players who may be anticipating that decision more than most are
Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun, neither of whom have been in Di
Matteo's matchday squads this season.
was a target this summer for Brazilian side Santos – who claimed they
were put off by his wage demands – while Benayoun spent last season on
loan at Arsenal.
about the prospect of either being allowed to leave permanently or on
loan, Di Matteo would only say: 'We'll have to see until the transfer
window closes. At the moment, they're with us and part of it.'
Di Matteo also insisted there was no news when quizzed about
suggestions Marseille right-back Cesar Azpilicueta was poised to
complete his protracted move from Marseille.
Italian added there would be no new arrivals before Wednesday's
fixture, which was brought forward from the first weekend of September
due to Chelsea's involvement in the UEFA Super Cup a week on Friday.
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.
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.
Forward thinking: Fernando Torres is put through his paces ahead of Chelsea's clash with Reading
'The first game in the league often has crazy results. They even themselves up a bit as the season goes along.'
But he added: '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
Chelsea will be
expected to brush aside npower Championship winners Reading but Di
Matteo knows enough about them from his time at West Bromwich not to
take them lightly.
'I always found it very hard to play against Brian McDermott's team,' he said.