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Mourinho: We can't afford to rest Eden Hazard, but it sure would be perfect if Belgium could

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Julian Finney

Initially this struck me as a bit passive-aggressive, but then, real life isn't Football Manager where you can just click a box and set international instructions for one of your players.  So José does have to go about it in a less than direct manner, lest he risk upsetting both player (who no doubt wants to play for his country) and his national coach (who no doubt wants his best players available to him).  And there's little doubt that Eden Hazard is one of if not the best player for both his club and his country.

"He needs a rest, it would be perfect on Wednesday if his national coach didn't play him, but he cannot have a rest for the club to then go and play friendly matches."

"He needs a rest and they could give him a rest. He's so important for us and I would prefer him on the pitch even if he's tired as I know he can produce things. I prefer to have him on the pitch than not."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Chelsea FC

After the Fulham match, Chelsea have a week off.  Which sounds grand, except for the part where our best players head off for FIFA-mandated frivolous midweek exhibitions.  As Mourinho says, resting Hazard vs. Fulham only for the player to then be involved in a friendly is hilariously stupid.  So we play him and then hope that Marc Wilmots extends a bit of courtesy and maybe play him for only one half, like he's hinted he would with Radja Nainggolan.

"I have no right to [ask Wilmots to give Hazard the night off].  I respect the national coach so let them do what they want."

-Jose Mourinho; source: Get West London

...but woe unto thee if Eden comes back worse for wear, or at least nothing that couldn't be fixed with an extra application of Nivea for Men, he added via semi-threatening body language.