Eden Hazard has risked irking Antonio Conte by revealing that he hates the “pointless” tracking back that the Italian demands of his Chelsea stars.
The Belgium international made the unsurprising revelation during an interview with France Football magazine (via the Metro) as he explained why he couldn’t fathom why he had to defend if it meant he would feel more tired as matches wore on.
Hazard has only recently returned from the broken ankle he sustained on international duty back in June and, despite making his first start of the season in the 5-1 Carabo Cup demolition of Nottingham Forest, found himself on the bench again for the 4-0 drubbing of Stoke City.
And his latest comments, which go against those he made last week praising Conte’s training ground methods, could land him in a bit of trouble with his club boss after being published.
He said: “You don’t need that [tracking back]. You can write that. Don’t tell Conte, but you can write that it’s pointless. If you defend too much, you tire yourself out.
“If I’ve spent the whole game defending, forget about me being useful after the 60th minute, and I’m quite fit.”
Perhaps realising that he has put his foot in it, Hazard tried to backtrack over his opinion in the aftermath of that reply by stating that he woulc carry out Conte’s tactical desires if it meant he would start regularly for the reigning Premier League champions.
He added: “There are people who are meant to defend, while others are there to attack.
“After that, it’s up to the manager. If that’s what he wants, you need to do it, otherwise you sit on the bench. I defend too. I don’t like it, but I have to with Antonio [Conte].”
Hazard had gone on record earlier in September claiming that he had learnt more from Conte on the training ground than he had ever done under previous manager Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.