Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo insists Eden Hazard won't become a target for the Premier League's hatchet men after he inspired the Blues to a 2-0 win over Wigan on his debut.
Hazard's man of the match display at the DW Stadium on Sunday was a significant statement of intent from the Belgium forward as he set up Branislav Ivanovic's opener and then won the penalty converted by Frank Lampard to seal the points.
Hazard had flirted with a number of the world's top clubs before completing a £32 million move to Chelsea in June and the European champions look set to reap a rich reward for their persistence in chasing the former Lille star.
However, his display did bring out some tough tackling from Wigan, with Gary Caldwell and James McArthur subjecting him to some crude challenges.
But that didn't worry Di Matteo, who believes rule changes to protect flair players like Hazard will stop defenders kicking him out of his stride.
"He showed all his quality, he was outstanding," Di Matteo said. "He combined well with his team-mates and he's got great technical ability, he's got a burst of pace as well.
"These kind of players are difficult to mark, their movement is very good and are good on the ball. I don't think teams will try to hurt him."
Hazard's brilliant turn and vision created Chelsea's opener as he picked up the ball 40 yards out before finding the marauding run of Ivanovic who was in acres of space with new Wigan signing Ivan Ramis having been pulled towards Hazard.
Ramis, a signing from Real Mallorca, was at fault for Chelsea's second as well as the brilliance of Hazard came to the fore again.
He twisted and turned inside the penalty area before bringing a needless challenge out of Ramis that sent him flying.
Lampard stepped up to tuck away the spot-kick in the seventh minute and that was enough to give Chelsea a winning start to the season.
Di Matteo said: "I was very pleased with our performance. The first game of the new season can always be tricky, and we expected as difficult game after the draw here last season. But the two early goals were a big help."
Wigan were not without their chances, however, as Franco Di Santo headed over after 20 minutes before Chelsea target Victor Moses came to life with a strike that forced a good save from Blues keeper Petr Cech.
Nigeria striker Moses then worked well down the right before a good cross into the area was missed his team-mates.
That brought out a chant of "We'll see you next week" from the Chelsea support, but Wigan manager Roberto Martinez did not see the funny side as he called for the transfer window to be closed before the season starts.
Chelsea have made bids for Moses and the player has told Wigan he wants to move to Stamford Bridge, but they have yet to meet a revised valuation of £9 million.
"You could go through every dressing room and see some uncertainty with players who want to be moved on," Martinez said. "I don't understand why we put our players through this situation.
"The transfer window is a fantastic part of our game but the transfer window should close before the season starts. It is unfair on players in Victor's situation. But he wanted to help us by playing."
New Wigan signing Arouna Kone squandered a late chance for the hosts and Jordi Gomez blasted over, but Martinez was pleased his side did not give up after going behind early on.
"It would have been too easy to feel sorry for ourselves after what happened in the first few minutes, but we didn't and I was so pleased with the way we came back against the European champions," he added. Agencies