Eden Hazard needs time, warns Chelsea boss Antonio Conte

Eden Hazard and Chelsea legend Didier Drogba

Eden Hazard and Chelsea legend Didier Drogba

Hazard underwent ankle surgery during the summer and made his first club appearance of the season as a substitute in the 2-1 win at Leicester, having featured from the bench in both of Belgium's recent World Cup qualifying matches.

With Roma and Atletico Madrid also to play in Group C, few would give Qarabag much hope of reaching the knockout rounds, but Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will be taking nothing for granted on Tuesday, having played against Azerbaijan while in charge of Italy.

Hazard suffered a fractured ankle while on worldwide duty with Belgium in June and is yet to start a Premier League match for the champions this season.

Chelsea did not compete in Europe last season for the first time in 20 years after a lowly 10th-place league finish in 2015-16.

The Belgium global said, "This year is really important [in the Champions League]".

"You want to play these kind of games because every time you play in the Champions League it's a big game and everybody is watching you". It's always been my dream to play in the Champions League and win it. I feel good here. "But I think he needs a bit of time to continue to improve and not to take a stupid risk".

"It is big loss for the club because we know how important a player like Diego can be but you have to pay respect to the manager, who has to look after 24 players not only one". If he can get off the mark in a similar way to his blistering start to the Premier League campaign, then Qarabag will be in for a long, physical night.

"You know very well that I love our fans because they push us a lot during the game but I think we must pay great attention in the future".

"I am happy for this because we are working a lot with him".

Eden Hazard will also face a late fitness test, the Belgium global only recently returned to training following an ankle injury.

Qarabag team news: Lead by the efforts of Azerbaijani football legend Gurban Gurbanov in the managerial seat and South African striker Dino Ndlovu on the pitch, Qarabag are apparently used to dominating teams with their possession-oriented playing style (the Barcelona of the Caucasus!) in Azerbaijan's top league. "Everyone realises that was a freak season for us".

Craig Shakespeare's side pushed hard for the equaliser but Chelsea held firm to claim a third win since their shock opening-day loss to Burnley, leaving Leicester to nurse a third defeat in four games. It's important to work with my players to try and do our best.

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