Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has criticised Eden Hazard , saying the Belgian lacks positional discipline and leadership qualities and is not playing in line with his potential.
The Blues have lost their last two games, against Arsenal in the Premier League and Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, with Hazard playing as a false nine in both games – though the team have looked timid in attack.
While Sarri sees Hazard as ‘one of the best players in the world’, he believes his desire to roam and drop deep is affecting the team and himself.
‘You know very well that Eden is a wonderful player but he is an individual player. He is an instinctive player,’ said Sarri at his pre-match press conference ahead of Spurs match on Thursday.
‘For him it’s very difficult to play only in one position. He likes to go to the ball, he wants the ball on the feet and so for him I think it’s very difficult to play as a striker but it’s very difficult to play also as a winger.
‘But I think we also have to organise the other 10 players in the defensive phase because he needed to play everywhere on the pitch.’
Hazard gave an interview in the week saying that he has ‘frustrated’ many of his previous head coaches, such as Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
Asked if he shared that his peers’ frustrations, Sarri said: ‘Sometimes, but I prefer him when he speaks with his feet.
‘I think that he said that coaches told him that he needed to do more. I think he has to do more because the potential is higher than the performances I think. So he has to respect first of all himself, he has to do more.’
On whether Hazard was a leader within the team, he added: ‘I don’t know in this moment he is more an individual player than a leader.
‘He’s very important for us because he’s a great player. He always can win the match in two minutes. Sometimes in one minute! But at the moment he is not a leader.’