Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho tight-lipped over Eden Hazard return

Jose Mourinho refused to say whether Eden Hazard will return to Chelsea's starting lineup for Tuesday night's Champions League Group G clash at Dynamo Kiev.

Mourinho was critical of Hazard, the stand-out performer in the Blues' Premier League triumph last season, after leaving the playmaker on the bench for Saturday's 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

And Mourinho declined to reveal if the Belgium international, who has been told to up his workrate, will start at the NSK Olimpiysky as Chelsea seek to respond from the 2-1 defeat at Porto in their last Champions League game.

"If he plays tomorrow, I don't tell you. The players don't know," Mourinho said in a news conference.

Mourinho has left forwards Pedro Rodriguez and Loic Remy behind because of minor injuries, increasing the likelihood Hazard will return to the starting XI.

The Portuguese was critical of Hazard during his first season back at Stamford Bridge and the desired response followed, with the midfielder compared favourably with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi when winning individual awards last term.

"I didn't say he had a better season than Ronaldo," Mourinho said. "Last season he won one of the most important titles in football, which is the Premier League, and [he was] absolutely decisive for Chelsea. Last season he had a phenomenal season."

Asked about Hazard's response to his comments, Mourinho said: "How did he train? He trained like Eden."

Remy was left behind for the loss at Porto three weeks ago because of a selection decision, but minor injuries are the reasons for his and Pedro's absence this time.

"Nothing important, but big risk for tomorrow," Mourinho said. "We have other options, especially because they are in positions where we have other players."

Chelsea's win over Villa eased the pressure on Mourinho, who was the subject of the first managerial vote of confidence in Roman Abramovich's 12-year ownership following the Oct. 3 loss to Southampton.

Yet he knows Chelsea must at least avoid defeat in the first of two successive games with Dynamo to enhance their chances of advancing in the Champions League.

"We need to win matches," Mourinho said. "We just want to win the next match. We don't think about where we are.

"We need to win matches in the Premier League to improve our position. We need to win points in Champions League to qualify.

"The point is improve results, at the same time improve our game, improve our confidence.

"We have too many bad results since the beg of the season. Hopefully now we can go in the right direction."