Drogba, 36, had not scored in his first six appearances since returning to Stamford Bridge this summer. His last strikes for the club had both come in their Champions League final victory in 2012 — first his late goal which sent the match into extra-time, and then the decisive penalty in the shootout which saw them beat Bayern Munich.
When Jose Mourinho’s men were awarded a penalty midway through the first half of Tuesday’s Group G encounter at Stamford Bridge, Drogba asked Hazard — the team’s regular spot-kick specialist — to give him the opportunity to get off the mark in his second spell at the club.
Best of Champions League Matchday 3
“For the penalty, Didier asked me if he could take it and I said, ‘Yes.’ That’s normal,” Hazard told reporters after the match. “He’s been trying to score for a while. He’s come back to the club of his heart, so I let him take it.
“At the same time, I could hardly say, ‘No.’ Mourinho hasn’t said anything to me for the moment, so I think it was normal to say, ‘Yes.'”
Chelsea boss Mourinho was not too impressed with his players deciding for themselves who takes penalties, and told Sky Sports after the match: “I don’t like it, but if they ask to do it then they have to score.”
Hazard produced a masterclass against the Slovenian visitors, scoring twice and having a hand in a further two goals as Chelsea all but secured their place in the knockout phase.
“The win was an easy one, because we made it easy — we did everything we needed to do to win,” the Belgium international said. “Other than their penalty [from which Agim Ibraimi hit the post], they didn’t create any chances.”
Attention can now turn to Chelsea’s Premier League trip to Old Trafford on Sunday. The corresponding fixture last season saw a drab 0-0 draw played out in what was one of David Moyes’ first games in charge, while Mourinho was just beginning his second spell at Chelsea.
Hazard insists that, this time, his team will be aiming for all three points against Louis van Gaal’s side.
“Now we play Manchester United, and they’re not at their best. We’re going there to try to win. It won’t be easy, but I think we have sufficient quality to be able to do that.”