Changes pay off for Mourinho
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said Eden Hazard missed training on Monday because he lost his passport and that he felt it was necessary to take a risk in dropping him against Schalke.
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Hazard travelled to see his former team Lille play Monaco on Sunday night, and consequently could not get back to London in time for training on Monday, which led him being left out of the squad for the 3-0 Champions League win over Schalke on Wednesday.
Mourinho said he refused to accept the player’s apology for the incident, but the Blues manager said the Belgium international is a “very good kid” who has learned and that he will be available for Saturday's game at home to West Brom.
“It was a simple story,” he said. “He went to a foreign country when he shouldn’t have and then lost his passport which meant he couldn’t get back for training. That was unacceptable but it’s over.
“I have to assume it was a bit of a risk not to select him for the last match, in pure football terms, because he could've helped us win an important match. But sometimes as a manager you have to take risks -- if I feel consequences for the group are very important and this is an important decision.
“[It] was a normal decision but no more consequences. [The] consequence was not to play, which is the worst thing you can to do to a player. Case over -- he's a very good kid.
“I think he reacted well because he apologised to me and to the club. Of course the apology was not accepted because it was something I couldn't accept, but it's over. Now it's something that doesn't exist anymore. He's selected and ready to play. I believe he has appetite to play because he loves to play and I didn't allow him to play.
“He knows everybody was clear and right that he made a mistake, so it's not a big story. Every player knows me and knows my reaction, my decision. The group is more important than any player. The group principles are more important than any result. Every player knew I wouldn't select him but also knows that it's over.”