Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has refused to confirm whether or not Eden Hazard will start against West Ham on Saturday.
The Portuguese tactician was speaking in his pre-game press conference on Friday, as reported by Sky Sports, and revealed how he was taking the positives from his side’s ability to keep back-to-back clean sheets against Aston Villa and Dynamo Kiev respectively.
However, the focus of the conversation quickly switched to Hazard, who was dropped for the game against Villa, before being restored to the line-up in mid-week.
Mourinho refused to confirm whether or not the Belgian international would start, and it may well serve to raise further question marks about the former Lille star’s long-term future at Stamford Bridge.
As reported by The Daily Mail, there are suggestions that Hazard is finding it difficult to deal with Mourinho’s criticism, as the Chelsea boss is looking for more of a defensive effort from the winger in order to earn his place in the starting line-up.
The 24-year-old undoubtedly prefers to play with an element of freedom and to enjoy his football, but given Mourinho’s recent criticism of him, as noted by The Guardian, there is a suggestion that the Belgian is struggling with life at the Premier League champions this year.
Although his response against Dynamo Kiev suggested that he is willing to sacrifice himself more for the team and to prove his coach wrong, it remains to be seen whether or not that is the best way to make the most of his attacking talents and to re-establish himself as the match-winner that he was on countless occasions last season.