Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has admitted it was ‘easy’ to refocus Eden Hazard on the task at hand at Stamford Bridge following a summer full of speculation over his future with the Premier League club.
Hazard, 27, was thrust into the limelight over the summer for both his on field performances for Belgium during the World Cup and the reported pursuit by Real Madrid after Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit.
While the lack of clarity over the situation could have disrupted Hazard‘s focus and rhythm, the exact opposite transpired as the Belgium international has been a standout for the Blues under the new management.
The 27-year-old has scored seven goals and created a further two for Chelsea to date, and Sarri insists his level of output has come as a result of the freedom bestowed upon him as well as a handful of ambitious goals to strive towards.
“It is easy to stimulate Hazard – as long as you let him have fun,” Sarri told Sky Sports. “He’s very easy, it didn’t need strategies from me. He doesn’t get influenced by the media and what happens around him. As long as he’s having fun and he plays. And he loves playing football.
“But you need important objectives for important players. And he can improve if he becomes a little bit more aggressive and gives the best of himself,” he added.
Moreover, the Blues boss conceded even he has been ‘surprised’ by how quickly his squad have adapted to his style of play following a number of years with conservative tactics under the likes of Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho.
“Yes I am surprised,” he continued. “I’m very lucky to have players of such quality and we’re very lucky to have this positive start because of the players. It’s true it’s a different style to last season but this team is full of players who are suitable to my style of play.”
Chelsea currently sit in third position in the Premier League having failed to taste defeat ahead of their trip to face Southampton on Sunday.