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Aug 14, 2012

Hazard welcomes physical test

Chelsea's Eden Hazard is relishing the physical demands of English football after enjoying his first taste of action against a Premier League rival at the weekend.

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Hazard, 21, made his debut for Chelsea on Sunday against Manchester City, having joined the club from Lille for a fee in the region of £32 million this summer.

The Belgium international featured for 71 minutes but was unable to prevent his side from losing 3-2 in the Community Shield encounter, yet he was encouraged by his bow in England.

He said: "I've already found what I came for in England - beautiful stadium, beautiful pitch, big atmosphere and a very competitive match.

"Beyond the result, I am happy with that first test. I felt at ease. It's very fast and I believe it's a perfect style of play for my qualities.

"I'm here to play these very intense games. In France, it could be intense during ten or 15 minutes but the match can be very quiet during the next ten or 15 minutes. Here, it is always at the maximum.

"I was stopped sometimes by big tackles, but people have always tried to stop me playing hard. But when it's fair like that it's OK.

"The first half was encouraging but the red card killed the game. Down to ten players, it was really difficult because City pass the ball very well. I had to defend a lot in the second half and it was very hard physically.

"I was pleased with my performance. I can do better of course, but I am confident."

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