It's time to talk about Eden Hazard for a minute, I suppose, given Mourinho's recent challenge to our Player of the Year to (re-)up his game, given his own recent quotes about his goalscoring/killer instinct, and given the quotes just given to local media ahead of Belgium's Euro 2016 qualifier against Bosnia on Thursday.
Hazard certainly hasn't been immune to the early-season malaise that has spread across the team. He's taken less than a handful of shots, missed crucial chances, and generally has been less effervescent than during last season's trophy-filled campaign. He knows this, we know this, Jose knows this. And so he needs to improve.
"It's obvious. You don't need to know too much about football to compare what I did last season and what I did this season. I'm not as good."
"It's more of a collective problem than an individual one. We're professionals. We knew this season was going to be more difficult... but within the squad we have the quality to bounce back."
"Individually and collectively, we're not up to scratch. Starting with me."
"We had a difficult month in August. I hope that the international break will allow me to rediscover my form."
-Eden Hazard; source: ESPN
Good timing with these words, considering the quotes that were making the rounds yesterday, wherein Hazard was comparing himself to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for about the umpteenth time. Except this time, the theme was slightly changed from the previous, perhaps overly hopeful and confident one.
"I often ask myself what I can do to become like Messi and Ronaldo and score 50 or 60 goals in a season. I try of course but I realise that I will never be a true scorer. It's not in me. It is mainly mental - at 2-0, not thinking that is enough, for example. Sometimes I still think, after a goal, 'that's enough'."
-Eden Hazard; source: Goal
Hazard identifying his apparent weakness and specific improvement needed (keyword: "still") has raised questions about his killer instinct. It's certainly not a good look to say that anything "is enough" when Mourinho's teams thrive on winning mentalities and a constant hunger for trophies. Hazard's subpar start to the season hasn't exactly contradicted that perception either. And while I'm not sure anybody seriously believed he could get to be another extreme (yet consistent) outlier like Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of goalscoring (their feats may not be replicated for some time), there are plenty of other ways to greatly influence a match.
"I'm not in search of records like some other players... if I can score between 15 and 20 goals each season, I will be very happy. I'm at a peak of my career but I want to become even better every day. I'm not there yet."
-Eden Hazard; source: Goal
And we're back on the beaten path once again: making the team better and constant improvement. We're going to need get started on that pretty quickly to get the season back on track, too!