Maurizio Sarri has told Eden Hazard that he does not believe he is a “leader” at Chelsea, per FourFourTwo.
The Belgium international is set to feature for the Blues against Tottenham Hotspur in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday, but Sarri has urged him to step up.
As Chelsea look to overturn a 1-0 deficit against Spurs, Hazard could again be deployed in a false nine role. The Belgian has played in that position for the last three matches in all competitions, including the first leg.
He has drawn a blank in each one, however, failing to score against Spurs, Newcastle or Arsenal.
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And Sarri, speaking ahead of this week’s game, has called on Hazard to start delivering, according to the aforementioned report.
“I don’t know, in this moment he is more an individual player than a leader,” he said.
“He is very important to us, of course, because he is 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. He’s a great player, one of the best in the world.”
Hazard has scored 10 goals and provided 10 assists thus far in the Premier League this season, as per Whoscored.
Hazard told France Football earlier this week that he has “frustrated” all of his coaches throughout his career, and it appears that he is continuing to do just that at Stamford Bridge.
The winger is yet to truly thrive in Sarri’s system, particularly after Alvaro Morata’s woes in front of goal, but perhaps the signing of Gonzalo Higuain (Chelsea’s official website) will see the Belgian unleashed.
Hazard has always been best on the left flank, cutting inside and tormenting full-backs, and his effectiveness is limited when he is asked to play through the middle.
Hazard on the flank and Higuain through the centre could be the answer for Chelsea going forward, but the Argentine is ineligible for the game against Spurs – as per The Telegraph – and Sarri’s words appear designed to light a fire in the 28-year-old ahead of the big clash.
Plus, the attacker has regularly saved his best performances for games against Tottenham; Thursday could well be just the latest in a long line of excellent derby displays.