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Hiddink reiterates long-term plans, remains hopeful on Eden Hazard

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

While Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink did once again confirm the interim nature of his appointment -- "What we agreed [in December], we stick to that" -- he seemed fairly confident that despite all the noise about Eden Hazard's future, Chelsea's back-to-back Player of the Year will be with the club starting next season as well.

"He’s very keen to be here, he’s extended his contract, he’s happy here and his family is happy here. We will encourage him and talk to him about his performances as we do with all the team."

-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC

While the narrative around Hazard has shifted even more drastically than Chelsea's fortunes have this season, behind the scenes, the situation may not be nearly as dramatic as we're making it out to be.  Which is probably true for most narratives in football media.

"He has to step up, he knows that. Every now and then we have a small conversation about him having to step up to the next level and I hope he will as soon as possible."

-Guus Hiddink; source: Eurosport

That said, the "next level" is hardly our concern at this point.  It may have been 12 months ago, but not anymore.  Now, the concern is Hazard stepping back up to his previous level, or at least something approaching it.  Tuesday's performance against PSG was not exactly a step in the right direction.

"I remember he had a sprint on our right-hand side (on Tuesday), that's the old Hazard and what we want to see. He can show more and he's aware of that, it's up to him to step up."

-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC

There's work to be done, to recover his form, to recover the season, and to recover his relationship with the fans.  I believe that's still possible, though I can see how it would be much easier, for all parties involved, just to shut up shop, tuck tail, and run off to Madrid or Paris or wherever.

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