Jose Mourinho, manager of Chelsea, has been pleading with referees to protect midfielder Eden Hazard, by handing out more yellow cards during matches. Hazard, 24, is currently the most fouled player this season in the Premier League as well as the Champions League, having been the victim of 74 fouls in 25 games.
Mourinho told the media about how Hazard requested him to speak to his friend who makes carbon shin pads, as the number of kicks he receives during each match is much higher than other players. In the Champions League match last Tuesday, when Chelsea played against Paris St-Germain, Hazard was fouled nine times, receiving the same number of free kicks for his team.
Mourinho realises that many of the fouls that occur, may seem minor to the referee at the time, especially when looked at in the context of the whole game. However, the fouls that occur at crucial moments, such as when Hazard is carrying out a counter-attack, may result in a free kick, but the counter-attack has still been ruined.
It is evident that the managers of other teams are sending their players out with direct instructions to cover Hazard, but Mourinho states that the rules allow this tactical decision to be made, and it is common in the sport, with Mourinho doing it himself in the past. Although Mourinho understands that other teams may want to double mark Hazard, as he is a strong individual player, he is still adamant that any fouls occurring because of this definitely need to be punished.