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Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink says the club are still exercising caution over Eden Hazard after the Belgium international was left on the bench for the goalless draw with Watford. Hazard, 25, scored his first goal since April in the 5-1 victory over MK Dons in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday but was left out of the starting XI at Vicarage Road on Wednesday 3 February.
With the Blues chasing a winner, the former Lille winger was brought onto replace Nemanja Matic after 73 minutes but was unable to force a winner as his side were frustrated by Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes in a contest that ended goalless. Hazard was also left on the bench for Chelsea's 1-0 win over Arsenal on 24 January and Hiddink says the club are wary of reintroducing the player back into the first-team after his recent injury.
Speaking at his post-mach press conference, the Chelsea boss said: "We are being careful with Eden Hazard because we have a lot of games coming up. For him it's important to go step by step."
Hazard missed three games for his club last month after picking up a groin injury in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on 3 January. He returned to the match day for the visit to the Emirates but did not come off the bench.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was forced to make a good save to deny a vicious effort from Etienne Capoue in the first half but had a relatively quiet second as Chelsea produced the better of the chances during the stalemate at Vicarage Road.
His Watford counterpart Gomes, having already denied Branislav Ivanovic in the first half, was the busier off the two in the second, producing a wonderful one-handed save to stop Diego Costa's goal bound header in the final 10 minutes.
Hazard also had a chance to seal the win for his side when a ball from Willian found its way through for the Belgian, but a poor first touch allowed Gomes time to come out and smother the ball.