Real Madrid target Hazard admits desire to play in Champions League every year

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Chelsea star Eden Hazard believes Chelsea needs to play in the Champions League every year.

The winger – who has been linked to a move to Real Madrid – revealed his desire to play in Europe’s premier competition with the Blues.

Hazard is confident the West London side can seal qualification despite stiff competition with Arsenal for the top-four spot.

“Chelsea has to play in the Champions League every year,” the Belgium international said to Sky Sports.

“It’s one of biggest clubs in the world, and for myself also I want to play in the Champions League, and we will.”

The Belgian was satisfied with the draw against Manchester United but admitted that his team had enough to seal all three points.

“A good day but could be better. We came here thinking about winning the game, a draw is not a bad result for us but I think if we believe a bit more in our chances we can score another goal,” he added.

“We now have two games and we will try and be in the top four

“We started slowly but today we had a reaction and scored our goal. I don’t remember one chance for them in the second half and yes we just played a good game.

“The game was hard, in a good way, this Man Utd – Chelsea game is always tough.”

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Man City need to go full gas for Premier League run-in, says Pep Guardiola

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Pep Guardiola vowed to hit the accelerator as Manchester City moved within two wins of retaining the Premier League title with a hard-fought victory at Burnley.

Sergio Aguero scrambled the only goal of a tense clash at Turf Moor on Sunday to lift the champions back above Liverpool to the top of the table.

City are clear favourites and have their destiny in their hands but, with Liverpool just a point behind, Guardiola knows there is still little room for error in their remaining games against Leicester and Brighton.

The City boss said: “We don’t have a game until next Monday, so now we have time for recovery, to rest and enjoy – unfortunately – the semi-finals of the Champions League (on TV).

“Then we go to the Leicester game, full gas with our fans, try to win and then go to the last one to try to win, to get the points we need to get back-to-back (titles).

“Let’s keep going. Just two games. It’s tough for Liverpool and it’s tough for us, with 92 points and (we’re) still not champions. They push us, we push them.”

Whatever the outcome of the race, Guardiola is convinced his side’s place in history is secure.

He said: “We have 192 points over two seasons. Maybe one team in history will make 100 points in a season but then to make 92, 95 or 98 the next year, I bet that is not going to happen often.”

City knew that anything less than victory over the Clarets would hand the initiative to Liverpool and the fine margins between success and failure were evident in the awarding of Aguero’s goal by goal-line technology.

The Argentinian’s scrappy 63rd-minute effort amid a goalmouth scramble was found to have crossed the line by a mere 29.5mm before Burnley defender Matt Lowton hoofed the ball clear.

There was a brief delay before referee Paul Tierney awarded the goal.

The goal rewarded City for a sustained spell of pressure but Burnley had made the game uncomfortable for them at times and they continued to do so until the end.

City endured some nervy moments in defence in the latter stages and finished with four centre-halves on the field, with Guardiola joking that he was “trembling”.

But overall City created the best chances and Guardiola had no doubt victory was earned.

“We deserved to win, we created a lot of chances,” he said. “The result, 1-0, is ‘short’. Our performance, I’m so delighted for the way we controlled them.

“It is not easy against them because they are so solid, they defend (with) 10 players in the box, but we did it.”

Aguero’s goal saw him become only the second player after Thierry Henry to score at least 20 Premier League goals in five consecutive seasons.

“He is a legend,” Guardiola said. “He does that all the time, important goals.”

Results elsewhere meant Burnley knew before the weekend they were already safe from relegation.

Manager Sean Dyche said: “People say it has been a poor season. It has been a fantastic season for us.

“This is Burnley. It’s not a walk in the park. Every season…finance, structure, trying to keep our players… every year is tough.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Draw at Man United a potential turning point for Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri

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A crucial result for Maurizio Sarri.

Chelsea got a crucial result in their bid to finish in the Premier League‘s top four, earning a 1-1 draw away to Manchester United to remain in control of their fate as they chase a Champions League spot.

It ended a run of away defeats against the rest of the big six and gave them a two-point lead over fifth-place Arsenal – and three over United – with just two games to play.

Here’s a look at the talking points for Maurizio Sarri’s side:

CHELSEA FINALLY BREAK AWAY DUCK

To say Chelsea have struggled away from home this season is an understatement.

It wasn’t just the 13-1 aggregate score against top-six opposition going into this game; there was also the 2-0 loss to Everton and the embarrassing 4-0 loss to Bournemouth.

They may have gotten lucky by facing a United side that are completely out-of-sorts, and the Blues weren’t at their best themselves, but this may prove to be a big result for Sarri – not just because of what it does for his hopes of leading the side back into the top four.

It’s also his first point away from home against any of the rest of the big six as Chelsea manager.

Some may still not be convinced about the Italian as the man in charge at Stamford Bridge, but slowly, Sarri is building a team in his image. Sunday’s result could prove to be a turning point.

SARRI LOSING MUCH-MALIGNED RIGIDITY?

Given how crucial this result is for Sarri it’s ironic that it comes in a display that was far from vintage Sarriball.

This was a scrappy, ugly, low-quality game, with none of the fluidity that either team is capable of.

Chelsea’s early-season away losses against Tottenham and Arsenal were characterised by falling prey to counter-attacking football as the Blues failed to impose themselves on the opposition, struggling despite playing the possession football Sarri desires of them.

The less spoken of the 6-0 capitulation at Manchester City, the better, but it was telling that two weeks ago against Liverpool and again on Sunday, Chelsea actually saw less of the ball.

That’s unlikely to be a coincidence. If Sarri wanted Chelsea to dominate possession, that’s exactly what they’d do.

Which means that the Italian has lost some of the rigidity he’d been accused of by his many critics – a welcome sign.

HAZARD’S BIG-GAME FORM UNDER SCRUTINY AGAIN

Chelsea have finished their quota of top-six games this season, unless they advance to the Europa League final and meet Arsenal. And there is one glaring statistic that may be cause for concern.

In 14 appearances against United, City, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham this season across all competitions, Eden Hazard has managed three assists and three goals.

This was his sixth visit to Old Trafford, and he has yet to register an assist or a goal at United’s home ground. And though striker Gonzalo Higuain deserves his share of the blame for the lack of end product, Hazard had next to no impact on Sunday.

There’s no doubting Hazard’s quality. But in a week where there was talk of him being among the biggest snubs in the PFA team of the year, the Belgian perhaps showed why enough of his colleagues didn’t vote for him.

Hazard’s big-game prowess has always been the easiest criticism to levy at the Chelsea star. Against United, he blew another chance to put that talk to bed.

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