Premier League: Mourinho praises special one in seven-goal thriller


CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho praised a “special” performance from playmaker Eden Hazard that kept his side second in the Premier League table.

The Belgian took his tally to eight goals for the season with a sublime finish in either half as the Blues won a third successive league match.

Hazard had been in Mourinho’s bad books last month when he failed to turn up for a training session and was subsequently axed from the team for their Champions League match against Schalke.

But the 22-year-old is seemingly back in favour with his Portuguese boss.

“It was our best performance away from home. We played fantastic football, we were creative, dynamic and had a special Eden Hazard,” said Mourinho.

“Normally I don’t like to praise individual players, but Hazard since the first minute was fantastic.

“It was a fantastic match, we even played well defensively, but conceded three ridiculous goals, that was the negative thing in such a brilliant performance.

“I can’t even blame the team’s defensive performance. The team defended very well, it was just losing a man at a set piece and a rebound here and there that went against us.”

The visitors fell behind when Jozy Altidore lashed in from 10 yards, but club record goalscorer Frank Lampard levelled three minutes later, heading in Juan Mata’s cross from six yards.

Hazard curled in from 20 yards to give the Blues a half-time lead, but Sunderland, managed by former Chelsea favourite Gus Poyet, equalised when defender John O’Shea finished from close range.

Hazard converted Lampard’s pass on 62 minutes to restore the Blues’ advantage and Bardsley turned Demba Ba’s centre into his own net with six minutes remaining to seemingly seal the victory.

However, Bardsley netted at the right end two minutes later, but could not deny Mourinho’s men their ninth straight win at the Stadium of Light.