Eden Hazard left out of squad for Europa League trip to PAOK

Eden Hazard ranks Chelsea teammate among the world's best strikers

"So I have to organise better the defensive phase and the players have to understand that". It's not important tomorrow or in the future.

"Eden Hazard, because he told me after the national team and the match against Cardiff he was a little bit exhausted, so I thought it was better to stay at Cobham, to have training and rest".

PAOK manager Razvan Lucescu on Chelsea: "We have to manage every game in any competition. We have to control in the moment that we have the ball with correct approach this situations".

The Belgian has starred rather than sulked at not getting his move, scoring a hat-trick in Saturday's 4-1 win over Cardiff to take his tally to five goals in just three starts under new manager Maurizio Sarri.

David Luiz, Mateo Kovacic and Emerson Palmieri also did not travel to Greece on Wednesday, but academy youngsters Ethan Ampadu, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcin Bulka were granted seats on the plane.

"Eight players joined us this summer". "I have also played [Victor] Moses and Willian". First-choice striker Aleksandar Prijovic should be available to start having recovered from a hamstring tweak, while PAOK have no other major injury issues.

Chelsea and PAOK Salonika will meet for the first time ever in a competitive match.




PAOK, who finished second in the Greek top flight last season, last faced English opposition during the 2011-12 Europa League, and actually beat Tottenham Hotspur in London during that particular campaign.

In their previous six Europa League campaigns, PAOK have progressed from the group stage on four occasions (2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14, 2016-17), but were eliminated at the Last 32 stage on each of those occasions.

Midfielder Danny Drinkwater is not in the Europa League squad due to UEFA regulations. The Chelsea boss has taken this decision as the Belgian star complained of fatigue after the win over Cardiff at the weekend. The former City keeper was by far Chelsea's best player.

"He's one of the best strikers in the world", Pochettino said.

Hazard's absence brings into focus the matter of post-World Cup burnout, something many feel has hampered Harry Kane's form in recent weeks, and it will be intriguing to see if he features at West Ham on Sunday as Chelsea aim to make it six league wins out of six.

However, speaking at a media conference on the eve of the match, Sarri was reluctant to say whether Loftus-Cheek was finally set to get a chance to impress.

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