Jose Mourinho has questioned the legitimacy of the Premier League's Player of the Month award after Eden Hazard was overlooked in favour of Daniel Sturridge for February.
The Portuguese boss is never one to bite his lip. He congratulated Sam Allardyce for capturing the Manager of the Month gong, something he believes the West Ham boss deserves, but he remains adamant Hazard should have won the latest prize—as reported by Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph:
I think Sam deserves it. I think he won four consecutive matches in February. When you win every match in the month, normally you have to win the award.
[...] For Hazard to arrive in March without one single award makes me laugh.
Sturridge emerged victorious after scoring five goals in four games, per Liam Prenderville of the Mirror. Although Hazard's stats are certainly comparable with the English striker, impressive considering he largely plays on the wing, Sturridge won his team more points across the month, as noted below:
|Player||Appearances||Goals||Assists||Points Won from Input|
Squakwa fired out a stat in Hazard's favour, highlighting the winger's terrific dribbling skills and current confidence:
Eden Hazard completed more EPL take-ons in February (19) than any other player. Raheem Sterling comes in second (18). pic.twitter.com/DuyjPlIfld— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 13, 2014
Hazard's overall play has been excellent in recent times. He appears to have settled into an industrious role under Mourinho, who likes his forward to contribute across the entire pitch. At 23 years old, Mourinho has galvanised a sense of maturity out of his star man that sees Hazard launch a scintillating attack before tracking back to help his team defend.
Will Eden Hazard win the Player of the Month award this season?
The Belgian's three-goal haul against Newcastle won Chelsea all three points, but other than this, his creative numbers fail to directly yield any further points for February.
Sturridge may have edged the vote considering his goals and assists won Liverpool seven huge points, keeping Brendan Rodgers' Reds in the title race.
While Mourinho didn't make reference to Sturridge, he remains bemused that Hazard is yet to be rewarded for his memorable campaign. The former Lille star has notched 13 goals and seven assists in 29 appearances on Chelsea's way to the top of the table, per WhoScored.com, and he is all but certain to appear in the Premier League Team of the Season at his current rate.
Hazard's term includes an extremely prosperous October, which saw him score three and assist one. Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey took that particular award after netting four in as many games, per the Premier League.
Joe Krishnan of The Independent sums up the feeling of many onlookers in light of Hazard's inability to win the award:
Eden Hazard misses out on Player of the Month AGAIN. What's wrong with the world?— Joe Krishnan (@joekrishnan) March 14, 2014
Should Hazard continue performing with the same intensity, guile and effectiveness, it will only be a matter of time before he is rewarded. The improving player has added consistency to his game this year and is a major part of Chelsea's current success.
Considering he is only likely to improve, Mourinho shouldn't have to worry about his player missing out for too much longer.