Former Chelsea manager Glenn Hoddle has been left baffled by Maurizio Sarri’s use of Eden Hazard and suggested the Belgian may be better off at Real Madrid.
Sarri surprisingly opted to bench Hazard for the first leg of Chelsea’s Europa League semi-final clash at Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday. The Italian insisted he had to give his star man a break due to fixture congestion.
The decision appeared to initially backfire when Luka Jovic scored a 23-minute header to put Eintracht in the lead. Although Chelsea soon recovered from their early setback, when Pedro smashed home an equaliser just before the break.
Hazard was finally brought on in the 61st-minute for Willian as Chelsea searched for a winner. And the Belgian nearly set-up David Luiz to do so only for the defender to head the ball straight into Eintracht keeper Kevin Trapp.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Chelsea taking home a critical away goal advantage for next Thursday’s second leg.
But Hoddle just couldn’t understand how Sarri could leave his “best player” on the bench for such a big occasion.
“I really for the life of me can’t understand why you wouldn’t play your best player in this semi-final,” said Hoddle, according to Daily Express.
Under Sarri, Hazard has enjoyed his most impressive season statistically with 19 goals and 13 assists in 48 games to his name.
Yet, Hoddle believes Sarri isn’t using Hazard correctly and added that Chelsea fans risk ending up seeing the best of Hazard over at Real Madrid instead.
“They will only find out how important Hazard is after he is gone, unfortunately, because he is that good a player,” Hoddle explained.
“But let’s face it, without him in the first half they were ordinary.
“What he does brilliantly is you can give him the ball and he will draw three players over to him and he can get you up the pitch.
“But he has goals in him and has got end product in there and around the penalty area. He is a danger.
“He has got everything going forward, possibly not all the time he doesn’t track back, but they will miss him.
“I actually think that he could be even better as a No 10 with two holding midfield players behind him.
“You could then just say to him go and play and he might get that if he goes to Real Madrid unfortunately.”