Mourinho VS Hazard battle over player wing issue

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Eden Hazard has been warned he will not feature in a central role for Chelsea by manager Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho says he is not convinced Eden Hazard can play in a central role for Chelsea.

The Belgium international persuaded Mourinho to start him in the number 10 role in last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Norwich.

However, Mourinho believes Hazard is more effective on the left wing, where he was deployed to devastating effect last season.


When asked if Hazard can emulate Deco and Wesley Sneijder as Mourinho’s favourite playmakers, the Chelsea manager said: “As a number 10? I don’t think so.

“I like a number 10 to score goals. I like a number 10 to get in the box. I like a number 10 to score Oscar goals against Maccabi.

Hazard has struggled to recapture his best form this season
Hazard has struggled to recapture his best form this season
“A number 10 for me is an eight-and-a-half when the team loses the ball and a nine-and-a-half when the team has the ball.”

Hazard is yet to score in 20 appearances this season, but netted 19 times in all competitions last season when operating on the left wing.

Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho refused to disclose the thoughts of Hazard and instead described his own version of a number 10.

“We have different concepts of number 10. Me and him,” the Portuguese added.

Mourinho is keen to deploy Hazard on the left flank
Mourinho is keen to deploy Hazard on the left flank
“For me, a number 10 does a lot of things, with the ball and without the ball.

“So for me, a number 10 is a very special player in my team, when I play with a number 10, which in Chelsea in the last period we are doing.

“In my first period here, we played without a number 10. We played with two number eights. In a system of two midfield players and a number 10, I demand a lot from a number 10.

“Every position is important, but it’s an important position.”

Cesc Fabregas, Willian and Oscar have all played in the central playmaking role for Chelsea, who have endured their worst start to a Premier League season in their history.

Willian nearly joined Tottenham before sealing a move to Chelsea in 2013
Willian nearly joined Tottenham before sealing a move to Chelsea in 2013
Willian has scored six times this season – all from direct free-kicks – and his form has been among the few bright points for Chelsea.

“The difference between last season and this season is that he scores free-kicks,” Mourinho said.

“He was phenomenal last year. He’s phenomenal this year. The only difference is that he found a way to contact the stopped ball, where he becomes very dangerous.”

Willian signed from Anzhi Makhachkala in August 2013, despite having already undergone a medical at Tottenham.

“They lost a very good player in Willian, they got a very good player in (Christian) Eriksen. They move on. They did well,” Mourinho said.

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