Eden Hazard says Chelsea are finding life as Premier League champions challenging as “everyone wants to kill you”.
The Blues are eight points adrift of leaders Manchester City after four points in four games and suffered a rare home loss – Jose Mourinho’s second at home in 100 league matches – against Crystal Palace before the international break.
Chelsea next play at Everton on Saturday in a contest which could have added spice after the champions’ unsuccessful bid to sign defender John Stones.
Hazard, the recipient of numerous awards as Chelsea’s star last term, is one of a number of players yet to hit the same performance levels, much to Mourinho’s dissatisfaction.
The Belgium playmaker told fashion website HypeBeast.com: “It’s difficult to play as a champion because everyone wants to beat you, everyone wants to kill you.
“We wear the gold badge and... yeah, it’s very good. We had a fantastic season last season... if we could do the same this season we’d be good.”
Mourinho labelled Hazard one of the three best players in the world last term, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Hazard added: “Every day I try to reach a better level. This is my job, every day I try to score. Every game I try to score.
“I just want to be champion. I just want to be a champion and win everything like I did last season.”