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With Hazard, we're going to go slowly - Roberto Martinez

Fri 12 November 2021 | 18:02

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez emphasized that qualifying for the World Cup is still his priority and explained that he would move slowly with Eden Hazard until he is fully prepared.

Belgium are five points clear at the top of Group E while they have two more games in their pockets and can secure their place in the World Cup with a victory over

Estonia

on Saturday.

"

At the moment all our work is based on trying to qualify,

" Martinez said ahead of the game against Estonia.

"If we need two games to qualify, so be it, and that's our approach

.

"If we can qualify with our home game in front of our fans then it's going to be another reset on how we approach the last game [against Wales], but it's important for us that we compete to qualify for the World Cup and try to preserve our position in the world rankings.

"Then it comes to bearing in mind all the [players'] physical states. In the case of Eden he hasn't played a lot of football so every day that we assess here we take a lot into consideration, the same way that we do with every single player that we have.

"The first goal is to qualify for the World Cup and see when we can do that."

Martinez further explained that he is satisfied with

Hazard

's performance in training after joining the national team, but it is unlikely that the Real Madrid winger will be ready to play in the full 90 minutes.

"

Obviously, when you welcome Eden Hazard into the camp it's just to assess the work that he can do here and I've been very pleased in that respec

t," Martinez continued.

"He looks happy, he looks forward to the game and then I just feel that we're going to use how he feels during the game to see if he can play 90 [minutes] or not.

"I would be surprised if he can play 90 at this stage [although] it depends a lot on what type of game we get. With Eden, we're going to go slowly and make sure we make good forward steps.

"I see him in a very, very good mental state, he looks really sharp, so for me, it's a question of seeing how long he can play rather than anything else."

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