Ruud Gullit believes that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho needs to give Eden Hazard more freedom rather than ask him to work so hard for the team.
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The Dutchman was speaking on Match of the Day, and used an example from the goalless draw against Tottenham on Sunday to explain his point as he noticed the Chelsea star dropped his head when recognising that he had to make a run into the box.
Gullit believes that the additional defensive work that Hazard is putting in for his team is having a detrimental effect on his ability to be decisive in the final third.
Having used Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as examples, the AC Milan legend insisted that those two don’t do as much defensive work for their respective clubs as it enables them to have enough energy to make a difference when they lead the attacks.
Nevertheless, while he may well have a point, it is an issue that Mourinho brought up last month ahead of dropping Hazard for the win over Aston Villa, as reported by Sky Sports.
The Portuguese tactician admitted that his side were conceding too many goals, and the lack of defensive effort from Hazard wasn’t a luxury that he could afford. Given that the Blues have enjoyed an upturn in form in recent games, it remains to be seen whether or not he continues with that philosophy, or he allows his playmaker to focus on making a difference in the attacking phase of the game.
However, based on the performance against Tottenham, during which he showed a willingness to track back and combined that with being a threat to Hugo Lloris, it appears as though Hazard may well have found a balance to his play and is just missing the clinical edge.