In case you haven't heard, there's a big Manchester derby happening this weekend, so outside of our tiny little Chelsea bubble, most of the English footballing world is concerned with everything Mourinho vs. Guardiola. In fact, some of that has seeped into our aforementioned bubble via recycled quotes from Eden Hazard.
"Conte puts trust in his players and now we are good after an ugly season last year. I've always been the same player but Conte knows how to treat players having played at the highest level himself."
Presented in the context of SHOTS FIRED at previous boss Jose Mourinho, these are most likely recycled quotes from well over a week ago, after the 3-0 Burnley win. Speaking to Chelsea TV afterwards, Hazard heaped praise on the current boss, saying how Conte's getting the players to buy in to the system, creating team unity, etc. etc. Conte himself has talked many times about using his own experiences as a player at the top level, so it's hardly surprising that his players tend to mention it as well.
"He's tried to give us confidence. He knows players because he used to be one. We had one bad season but we are trying to do better. He tries to motivate us and we are giving everything."
-Eden Hazard; source: Chelsea FC
The quotes are slightly different, but they've traveled from England to France to Italy and then back to England, so something along the lines has literally gotten lost in translation. Notice how none of the recent articles flooding the Chelsea bubble attribute these quotes to anything concrete. Not the French paper, not Chelsea TV, not any random press conference. They just are. They exist solely to create controversy — a warmup for when Mourinho comes back to the Bridge in the Manchester United colors in October, if you will.
And even in the odd chance that these are real, new quotes — football players aren't necessary the most creative bunch as interview subjects — they are hardly the sly or even overt digs that they are made out to be. Hazard has spoken before of the utmost respect he has for Mourinho, including texts after the sacking where Hazard took the responsibility for letting the manager down, but he's quite likely not concerned at all by the former Chelsea boss at the moment. Hazard's priorities are Chelsea and the Belgian national team and unless he explicitly comes out to talk about Mourinho for some reason, we can safely assume that all his quotes are said in that exclusive context.
Praise for Conte does not also mean condemnation of Mourinho. The media clearly doesn't think we're smart enough to appreciate a world where not everything is black or white. Prove them wrong.