Maurizio Sarri on why Eden Hazard ’caused issues’ at Chelsea


Eden Hazard & Maurizio Sarri

Recently-departed Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has this evening opened up on Eden Hazard’s defensive shortcomings.

Sarri’s Premier League experience

Italian tactician Sarri was the man chosen to replace fellow countryman Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge last summer.

The 60-year-old’s Chelsea stint, though, subsequently proved a somewhat perplexing experience.

Sarri’s debut campaign with the Blues saw him secure the Europa League title, reach the final of the League Cup, and finish in 3rd-place in the Premier League table.

However, despite what, on paper, appears a largely successful season, the former Napoli boss never fully settled in London.

His opinion-splitting ‘Sarri-Ball’ methods saw large sections of Chelsea’s fanbase turn on Sarri over the course of the campaign, with the form of the capital giants having often proven frustratingly-patchy.

Juventus links

Perfectly summing up the bizarre nature of Sarri’s tumultuous Chelsea spell were widespread reports, less than 24 hours after the tactician secured the first silverware of his managerial career in the Europa League final two weeks ago, that he was all set to replace Max Allegri at Serie A champions Juventus this summer:

And, following weeks of mounting speculation, Sarri’s appointment as the new Bianconeri boss was subsequently made official last weekend:

‘Caused issues’

Sarri has since been presented to the Juve faithful, with the Italian having briefly opened up on his Chelsea stint during a press conference earlier today.

Speaking to the media in Turin, the 60-year-old revealed that one Blues’ star who proved particularly difficult to fit into his plans was Eden Hazard.

Belgian attacker Hazard, who has of course also departed Stamford Bridge already this summer, enjoyed arguably his finest campaign to date under Sarri, during which he racked up 16 goals and 15 assists in the Premier League.

However, Sarri has admitted that fitting the 28-year-old into his system gave rise to a number of problems at the other end of the pitch:

‘You can’t start with a system and send players away or bring them in. We have to identify the two or three players who can make the difference.’

‘The third step is to talk to the players, listen to them and then see what system we can use.’

‘In recent years, I’ve had 4-3-3, but the 4-3-3 at Chelsea was very different to the one at Napoli.’

‘We had to accommodate Hazard’s characteristics, as he could change the game, but also his presence caused issues in defending that we had to work on.’

Quotes via Football-Italia

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