Maurizio Sarri may love many of his Chelsea children equally — David Luiz is “really sweet”, Cesc Fàbregas is “immense” and Jorginho is “a treasure” — but the one player who’s possibly more on his mind than any other is the Premier League’s Player of the Month for September, Eden Hazard. After just two months under Sarri, Eden’s on pace to set a new career high in goals and possibly rise to a new career high in terms of reputation and worldwide acclaim.
But as Sarri has said before, and many others have said so before him, and how he once again said so in the big interview with Alfredo Pedullà, there’s so much more potential left in Hazard, Eden himself may not even realize it.
“Hazard is immense and I don’t think even he knows how much he can still improve. I said he could end up in the tight circle of the best three or four players in the world.
“The problem is he plays to enjoy himself and at times doesn’t realise the importance of moving from fun to reaping the rewards. At the end of the day, you’ve got to get the fruits of your labour. Hazard’s approach is a positive, but it can become a potential limitation too. He needs to lift his head up, look around and realise there’s a whole world in front of him that he can dictate with his feet for the good of the collective and not just the individual.”
That the man who preaches “fun” football is the one telling you that it’s important to harvest the fruits of your hard labor as well sometimes, should really tell you something. It’s that important, to change your approach just a little bit, when the whole world could be at your feet.
The one potential drawback of Hazard realizing his full potential and growing into his final form is that Real Madrid might actually reconsider their stance and make a strong play for him, in which case we could be in trouble. For what it’s worth, Sarri doesn’t sound too concerned about that possibility.
“He said such kind words about me, I wasn’t expecting that. His contract expires in 2020, but he’s staying here.”
Then again, he doesn’t sound too concerned about our issues at the center forward position either, and we know that can’t possibly be really the case. For now however, he’s not planning on alternative solutions, like using Hazard a la the experiments under Conte, Mourinho, or Di Matteo. And that’s probably okay — let’s keep Hazard where he can do the most damage instead.
“I was tempted to use Hazard as a centre-forward and I might consider it again in future, but it’s not the right time now. We need to believe in Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: CdS via Football Italia