So, the good news is that we seem to be working very, very hard to try to figure out what's wrong with Eden Hazard and how to get him back to performing at the levels we know he can. The bad news is that if I take Hazard's name from Guus Hiddink's words and substitute in Fernando Torres instead, they would make just as much sense. (We're talking Chelsea Torres here, of course, not Liverpool Torres or the recently revitalized Atlético Torres deathrattle.)
"I told him now he must start performing. It's difficult when one has been player of the year and then has this fall. Some of it is due to injuries, and not in top form, it must be alarming for a player."
"It was breaking my head too; what can I do to help him get back on track? He fell too much into injuries and difficulties to come back and get out of there."
"Last year everything was beautiful and this year everything is, for him, dark. The contrast is huge. He was the number one and now he's at the end of a long row of players. That's difficult. What do you do?"
-Guus Hiddink; source: NBC Sports
It's always interesting to see which quotes the Chelsea Pravda chooses to run and not to run. For example, Hiddink seems convinced that Hazard must play in the present and not think too much about the future.
"In the last few days I've seen him training very spontaneously, and I think that's the road he must try to go down, but it's not easy. I think you come back by playing how kids play. Just think in the moment, not in the past or future. Just go and play."
"There are different characters. If you see his skills in training, his spontaneous actions and his movements, by nature they are perfect. The conditions are there but how do you cope with the season he's had? How does he react? He can be at a very high level but it's not just about natural skill, also the experience in your career."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC
But then in the next breath, he says that Hazard's upcoming period will be most crucial. Well, which one is it, Guus?
"The next period will be very interesting for him. Not now, just this season, but also the Euros and the upcoming season. If he is planning (to move) in his career, then he must show it where he is playing now and in the near future. I hope he uses his quality in a way that he doesn't think too much ahead or back."
-Guus Hiddink; source: BBC
Whatever you do, do not think about this very interesting and crucial future! Only everything depends on it!
But I suppose when you suffer a sudden loss of form on such a massive scale, you just have to try everything and hope that something snaps you back to reality. Like Torres, Hazard seems to be doing just fine in training, but can't quite reproduce that during the actual game. Whatever is holding him back, it's proving to be a tough barrier to break through.
"Normally you have your beautiful season as he had last season and then it is difficult to get a second season like that but not that drastically from what he is experiencing now."
-Guus Hiddink; source: FourFourTwo
Hazard, who's set to miss his fifth straight match today, recently made a public commitment to Chelsea (not seen too often nowadays) and we seem committed to working through this very long bad moment with him. With a new coach, a new impetus, and a new start, perhaps we can look forward to the new (well, old) and injury-free Hazard as well next season.