Jose Mourinho hailed the performance of Eden Hazard despite Chelsea’s inability to beat Maribor in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, as the Blues were forced to settle for a draw in Slovenia. With his dazzling footwork, Hazard won and then missed a penalty in the 86th minute that would have given Chelsea the lead; the Belgian also created several other goal-scoring chances throughout.
"When a player plays as well as Eden Hazard did – for me he was absolutely fantastic, by far the best player in my team – he can miss a penalty and still be the best player in my team,” Mourinho said, adding that Chelsea probably deserved to win in the second half, but for the performance of Maribor goalkeeper Jasmin Handanovic. "In the last 30 minutes, we played really intensely and creatively with big desire to win, we had lots of chances to do it, but the goalkeeper was magnificent.” Indeed, Hazard’s performance might only have been eclipsed by that of Handanovic, who produced nine saves on the night including denying Hazard from the spot -- to keep Chelsea from winning the game.
Mourinho added: "In the first half we didn’t play well. In the second half, after their goal, we played very well and normally we would win the game. But when you don’t play well for 90 minutes you risk it. We paid the price of not having a good first half. And in the second half their goalkeeper was fantastic."