It's instinct - Chelsea hero Hazard explains Panenka penalty
Eden Hazard says it was sheer instinct that told him to chip his penalty in Chelsea's 3-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United on Saturday.
The Belgium star netted his side's third goal with an impudent 'Panenka' finish from the spot to make the three points safe at Stamford Bridge.
The finish capped a fine performance from Hazard, who had earlier drawn the champions level after Dwight Gayle's surprise opener, with Alvaro Morata's header making it 2-1 before half-time.
Hazard says he did not give much thought to how he would take the penalty but admits it requires a level of luck to the goalkeeper in such a manner.
"When I take the ball in my hands, it's instinct," he told Sky Sports. "I just want to do this. I want the goalkeeper to move because, if he doesn't, I'm in trouble."
Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow said it was a frustrating way to concede for a third time, having performed well to keep his side in with a chance of a result.
91% - Eden Hazard has scored 21 of the 23 penalties he attempted in league games in his career (with Lille & Chelsea). Panenka. pic.twitter.com/9Zs3hU3Snh-- OptaJean (@OptaJean) December 2, 2017
"The chip annoyed me a little bit. I'd be lying if I said it didn't, but it's a great penalty," he said.
"There are positives. We've gone to Manchester United and Chelsea and done all right in spells but you get punished at this level. We have to keep improving."
Hazard was substituted before he had the chance to complete his hat-trick but he accepted Antonio Conte's decision.
"It's not a problem for me," he said. "I think all the players want to play. We play [Atletico Madrid] on Tuesday, so rest is sometimes good. When you score two, you want to score a hat-trick, but no problem."
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas felt Gayle's goal in the 12th minute proved to be important as it shocked Chelsea into stepping up their performance.
"We made a mistake. I thought we were good until that point but maybe it was a wake-up call. Maybe we needed it to put the accelerator on," he said.
The Spain international believes the tactical tweak from Conte has allowed him to link up better with Hazard further forward.
"We've slightly changed the formation," he said. "Playing with three midfielders lets me play a little higher up the pitch. I can be closer to Eden and we manage to find each other. When you have players like N'Golo [Kante], [Tiemoue] Bakayako, [Danny] Drinkwater, they do fantastic jobs."