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Hazard provides the magic moments, says Mourinho

ESPN staff
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Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea can close the gap to Premier League champions Manchester City © PA Photos
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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists his side are still going through a "rebuilding" process - but players of the calibre of Eden Hazard can provide the "magic moments" to help them lift a fourth Premier League title.

In his first season back at Stamford Bridge Mourinho maintained that Chelsea were not title challengers despite running eventual champions Manchester City close, repeatedly claiming they were in a work in progress.

The signing of Cesc Fabregas and imminent arrival of Diego Costa, along with the departure of Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole's likely exit hint at the shape of things to come under Mourinho this time around.

But, for all the focus on new signings, Mourinho claims that Hazard, who was voted the club's Player of the Year for last season, can help bridge the gap between themselves and City.

"I understand this beauty and these magic moments he [Hazard] brings to the game are what the fans enjoy the most," Mourinho told the club's official website as he described a player who he criticised as much he as praised last season.

"Obviously the fans enjoy and respect people like Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, John Terry - people that are so stable during the season and do an incredible job for the team - but people like Eden bring the magic and win matches in one action. They have the flair and the artist's touch of the football.2

Chelsea eventually finished four points off the pace in the league last season and fell at the semi-final hurdle in Europe. Mourinho admits they will be better equipped to challenge on all fronts next season, but warned the competitive nature of the Premier League means Chelsea could find it tough going.

"Next season will be very, very difficult, even more so," he said. "I know Chelsea will be better, but maybe the other teams will be better too, so it will again be the kind of league where you don't know if you're going to finish first or finish sixth."

Mourinho, in his second stint in charge of Chelsea, added: "After 10 years of titles and great moments, this is a moment to rebuild again, because teams don't last for ever," he said. "Clubs yes, but not the teams. In the same club you have to build another team."

Chelsea begin their pre-season preparations on July 16 against Wycombe but will not embark on a tour to the USA, as is usually the case, to give those involved in the World Cup as much time for recovery. Chelsea start their Premier League campaign against newly-promoted Burnley at Turf Moor on the opening weekend on August 16.

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