On Wednesday evening, as Atletico Madrid ultimately progressed to their first European Cup final since 1974, Eden Hazard, with Chelsea in the ascendancy through Fernando Torres's 36th minute strike, failed to track the marauding run made by Juanfran.
The Spanish right-back pulled the ball back towards Adrian Lopez who thumped home his third goal in 54 appearances. It was then, with the Spaniard's effort preceding goals from Diego Costa and Arda Turan, that Chelsea had been eliminated from the Champions League.
After the match, Hazard spoke to Bein Sports' French station. "I don't know what we lacked", he said, rubbing his head in frustration. "Chelsea is not made to play football. We're good on the counter, a bit like Real against Bayern. Often I'm asked to do it myself and it's not easy".
Here he was, questioning Mourinho's pragmatic approach without executing his duties adequately enough.
Mourinho didn't appreciate the Belgian doubts. On Friday afternoon, as Cobham bathed in the West London sunshine, Mourinho pursed his lips and frowned, deep in thought.
"I listened to the interview", said the Portuguese coach. “There was nothing critical in what he said. When the comments come from a player like Eden it's normal because he's not the kind of player to sacrifice himself for the team. Normally you get these kind of comments from players like him, from players that can't resolve a problem like we had in the first goal.
"Eden is the kind of player that is not so mentally ready to look back to his left-back and to leave his life for him. If you see the first goal of Atlético you completely understand where the mistake was and why we conceded that goal. The perfect team at the top level cannot make these kinds of mistakes."
Mourinho was bold, and rightly so. Had Hazard tracked Juanfran, who created two of Atletico's three goals, like Willian did at the Vicente Calderon in the first-leg, Mourinho could have chartered a dream final in Lisbon, a short drive away from his home town of Setubal, against his former employers Real Madrid. His techniques to galvanise players differentiate in extraordinary fashion. His tirade on Friday could have been centred around one of his streetwise techniques.
Hazard is supremely talented and his abilities undoubted. Mourinho vowed to make the 23-year-old the best player on the planet upon his return in August, and having overseen a drastic improvement in the winger, he is en route to doing so. His recent collection of the PFA Young Player of the Year was merited recognition of his 14 league goals and largely impressive individual displays.
Hazard could sparkle at the World Cup with Belgium. He is a certainty to start in Brazil according to manager Marc Wilmots but the former Schalke manager expressed his concerns over Hazard's willingness to track the opposition full-back in October 2012.
"Nacer Chadli and Eden Hazard had to switch positions because we were all over the place in the opening exchanges and very fortunate not to fall behind in the first seven minutes", he said after beating Serbia.
"I spoke to him after the game. Eden should know that, in football today, changing from defence to attack and from attack to defence are essential. But I support him. Step by step, we will get there."
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