Chelsea's Eden Hazard has admitted he lacked motivation for parts of this season, but claims he rediscovered his "pleasure" for the game in the feisty London derby draw with Tottenham Hotspur. The Belgium international scored a late equaliser to claim a 2-2 tie that saw Leicester City crowned champions in dramatic fashion at Stamford Bridge.
The 25-year-old came on as a second-half substitute with the Blues trailing by two goals, and single-handedly turned the game on its head with a display in stark contrast to his form during the rest of the campaign. Hazard has mustered just three Premier League goals this term in a season dogged by loss of form and injury in the wake of Jose Mourinho's exit from West London.
Hazard won a host of individual awards last term as Chelsea romped to the title, but his loss of form has led to reports he could yet leave, with the club having missed out on qualification for the Champions League. The former Lille winger has continually rejected those claims and appears to have a new lease of life after the draw with Spurs.
"It feels like a victory," he told the Chelsea official website. "There was a great atmosphere. We know Tottenham haven't won at Stamford Bridge for many years so it's good for us the players, and for the fans too. We know how important it is for them that we win derby games, or at least don't lose them.
"I like matches like that when they're very hard and there is so much rivalry between the two teams. It allows me to find my best form. It's football at its best. Recently I have rediscovered the pleasure to play. When you're injured it's hard to get that pleasure back.
"I played 45 minutes and I gave my maximum. It's been a complicated season for Chelsea and for me. It hasn't been like last season but we have three matches left and we want to finish well by winning all three."
The impressive Chelsea display, which went a long way to gifting Leicester the title, highlighted the club's failure this term, which saw their title defence falter in the opening months of the campaign. Hazard says his side are determined to make amends under new manager Antonio Conte – another indication that his future lies in the Premier League.
"Congratulations to them, they deserve it," he added. "It's footballing history. We had something similar at Lille a few years ago when we weren't the favourites but we won the title. It's something beautiful for the world of football when a smaller team does something like that. Next season I hope we can have a better season and get the title back."