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Mar 21, 2013

Hazard: Chelsea building for UCL assault

Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard believes his dethroned European champions are building a squad capable of launching another challenge for glory in next season's Champions League.

• Blog: Hazard, Chelsea give West Ham a football lesson

Hazard admits the biggest disappointment of his first campaign at Stamford Bridge was the premature surrender of Chelsea's Champions League crown, but the Belgian has insisted this should not be condemned as a season of failure for the Blues just yet.

"You have to reserve judgement until the end of the season." Hazard told the Chelsea website chelseafc.com. "We're still on the right track to win both the FA Cup and Europa League, and we'll be doing everything in our power to make sure that happens.

"Big clubs can only be judged to have had a successful season if they win one or, if they're lucky, several trophies. You can't summarise or sum up until everybody knows exactly what's been won, but it was a big disappointment going out of the Champions League so early.

"It's such an important competition and that's why I feel we could have achieved a bit more, but we're on the right path to qualify for next season's tournament. I think if we do we have enough quality players at the club to go a long way in it. The ultimate objective is to go as far as you can in the Champions League."

Hazard has conceded that he has not always displayed the levels of consistency he expects of himself following his £32m arrival at Chelsea, but the 22-year-old believes he is coming to the boil now after his sparkling display against West Ham last weekend.

"My confidence is really up at the moment and I feel good in myself," states Hazard. "It's quite weird because, historically, March always seems to be the best time of the year for me.

"Last year I got player of the month in Ligue 1, and a couple of years ago I won the same award. I don't know why but it seems as though things come good for me at this time of the season.

"It's been a good season for me so far but I could have done better in certain situations. There have been good moments and bad moments, both for me individually and the team, but hopefully we can finish the season strongly."

Hazard has played in 50 of Chelsea's 53 games this season, with the only fixtures he has missed coming as a result of his three-game ban handed down for his clash with a ball boy during the Capital One Cup tie at Swansea in January.

Those statistics make fine reading for a player making the step up to the Premier League and he admits his transition to English football has been helped by the presence of a few Blues legends.

"In terms of players such as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, you're talking about some of the best players in the world," adds Hazard. "Even if you're not playing alongside them, just watching them in training or during a match is great in terms of what you can learn.

"As a young, developing player myself, it's brilliant for me because you learn playing alongside these guys and you develop your own game in the process."

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