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Jose Mourinho Questions Eden Hazard, Chelsea Squad After Crystal Palace Defeat

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2015

Chelsea's head coach Jose Mourinho shouts as he watches during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015.  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has criticised Eden Hazard's performances this season after the Blues slipped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

According to Paul Brown of the Daily Star, Mourinho is thoroughly unhappy with his team—who sit in 13th place in the Premier League, having accrued just four points from four matches—and alluded to Hazard in particular. He said:

If you are the best player in the league, I think it should be a good responsibility to have a similar season than in the previous season.

I don't want to analyse individual performances. In general terms, it is difficult to have a consistent performance when some of the players are not performing at a good level.

When you have six or seven performing and three or four who are not at an acceptable level, it is hard for a team to be consistent in the performance.

As the Telegraph's Mark Ogden reports, Chelsea's start is a rather ominous sign, albeit there are 34 matches left for the Blues to rectify their struggles:

Mark Ogden @MarkOgden_

Mourinho making a worse start to a title defence than David Moyes at Man Utd. Still, early days...

As for the Belgian, he has contributed little so far this season save for a solitary assist in the win over West Bromwich Albion.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 16: Eden Hazard of Chelsea looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on August 16, 2015 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

For a player who Mourinho recently said outperformed Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo last season, the return is a far cry from what is expected of him.

Per Brown's report, the other players Mourinho is believed to be referring to are Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic.

ESPN FC's Miguel Delaney believes Chelsea's midfield to be a real problem area for the Blues:

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Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Mourinho has an awful lot to fix here... but think the biggest (other than his career-long issue with actual creativity) is that midfield.

Matic was a rock in front of Chelsea's defence last year but so far has failed to offer their back line similar protection.

According to Squawka, Matic has won just seven tackles from his 23 attempts this season and has already committed 11 fouls.

Meanwhile, Squawka report Fabregas has been similarly poor in winning the ball, with eight successful tackles out of 24. Furthermore, his incredible creativity saw him record a total of 24 assists in all competitions last season, but the Spaniard has created just five chances so far this year.

This represents a significant problem for the Blues, as they lack strength in depth in central midfield.

Ramires and John Obi Mikel are competent, but they're well below the kind of quality Matic and Fabregas can provide and the quality Chelsea need to get their campaign back on track.

Nevertheless, Mourinho admits he is prepared to drop underperforming players.

"I have to work, react, analyse and if I feel the players are not in conditions to react and give more, I have to make changes," he said, per Brown.

The international break will allow Mourinho to consider his options, while for the players, the time away represents a chance to impress the manager with strong performances for their national teams.

With time also left in the transfer market, don't be surprised if Chelsea are something of a new-look team when they head to Goodison Park on September 12.

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