London - Eden Hazard must deliver more to realise his full potential and help
dig Chelsea out of a slump in form, manager Maurizio Sarri said on
Sarri heavily criticised his side's mental strength after they
slipped to a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Arsenal on Saturday, labelling
his players "difficult to motivate".
However, Sarri's tactics are also under the spotlight as he has
persisted with playing Hazard in an unfamiliar centre-forward position
over the past month.
Chelsea look set to remedy their striker problem with the imminent
arrival of Gonzalo Higuain on loan, who scored 38 goals in one season
under Sarri at Napoli in 2015/16.
That should see Hazard return to his favoured role on the left side
of a front three, and Sarri wants more from the man voted the second
best player at last year's World Cup.
"In this moment, he's more an individual player than a leader," said Sarri on Wednesday.
"He is very important for 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's not a leader."
Hazard's future is also a source of fevered speculation, with the
player refusing to extend his current Chelsea deal, which expires in
In an interview with France Football this week Hazard again raised
the possibility he could move to Real Madrid and admitted he has
frustrated all of his previous coaches.
"I think he said that coaches told him that he needs to do more,"
added Sarri. "I think he has to do more. Because the potential is higher
than the performances. He has to respect first of all himself. He has
to do more."
And Sarri also acknowledged that Hazard's desire to get on the ball
as much as possible has restricted his impact when playing in a central
"Eden is at the moment a wonderful player, but an individual player.
He is an instinctive player so for him it is difficult to play in only
"He likes very much to go to the ball so for him, I think it is very difficult to play as a striker."
Sarri's public reaction to the defeat at Arsenal has raised questions
over his future at Stamford Bridge just six months into his reign in
Chelsea, who are fourth in the Premier League, host Tottenham in the
second leg of their League Cup semi-final on Thursday, trailing 1-0 from
the first leg.