Zola denied claims of any rift between Sarri and Hazard
Chelsea‘s assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has batted away the speculations suggesting a rift in the relationship between Eden Hazard and Maurizio Sarri.
Sarri criticised Hazard ahead of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Spurs, claiming that the Belgian lacked the leadership qualities to get the best out of his teammates.
In response, Hazard came up with a man-of-the-match performance in the 2-1 victory over Spurs in the semi-finals to propel the Blues to the finals of the Carabao Cup against Man City next month. The Belgian then seemed to turn a deaf ear to Sarri’s comments in his post-match interview, saying that he didn’t care what the manager had to say about him.
Zola, however, cleared the speculations surrounding a possible rift between the manager and Hazard.
He said: ‘I believe we try to give him this freedom. Also, we are trying to be an organised team, defensively and offensively, but especially defensively. That’s why we ask Eden sometimes to put himself about and work hard.
‘I know it’s not his best quality. We understand sometimes he needs to be fresh when he receives the ball. There is no doubt we are on the same page. We want to find a common ground where he can get the best out of himself, and also the team can benefit from him not only scoring goals, but also when we need everybody to press and defend.
‘Maurizio said he believes the potential is greater than the performance. He is not saying he is not happy with what Eden is doing; he just believes he can do more for himself and the team.
‘We need to try and get him as close as possible to what he did on Thursday, but we know to do that every single game is impossible.’