Premier League: Chelsea Football Club manager Maurizio Sarri 'worried' by star player Eden Hazard's injury struggles

Chelsea are already guaranteed a place in the knockout stages — they need a point to win Group L with one match to go — but Sarri will want Hazard fighting fit come Sunday's Premier League match with struggling Fulham.

Agence France-Presse November 28, 2018 23:27:53 IST
Premier League: Chelsea Football Club manager Maurizio Sarri 'worried' by star player Eden Hazard's injury struggles

London: Belgian star Eden Hazard's recent struggles with injury are giving Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri cause for concern the Italian admitted on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old playmaker — who played a pivotal role in Belgium finishing a best-ever third in the World Cup in Russia earlier this year — is out of the Europa League match with Greek outfit PAOK on Thursday with an ankle problem.

Premier League Chelsea Football Club manager Maurizio Sarri worried by star player Eden Hazards injury struggles

File image of Maurizio Sarri and Eden Hazard. Reuters

Chelsea are already guaranteed a place in the knockout stages — they need a point to win Group L with one match to go — but Sarri will want Hazard fighting fit come Sunday's Premier League match with struggling Fulham.

"I am worried because 25 days ago he had a back injury," said Sarri at his eve of match press conference, adding, "now an ankle. He has lost a lot of training. It's normal at the moment he isn't at the top of his physical condition."

Sarri has other concerns too about another key midfielder N'Golo Kante but this is with regard to his positional play. The Italian pointed the finger at the French World Cup winner for being partly to blame for his 18-game unbeaten start at the club ended with the 3-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday.

"I want to play as a centre midfielder with a very technical player. For me the centre midfielder is Jorginho or (Cesc) Fabregas," said Sarri, adding, "I don't want Kante in this position. Kante in the last match wanted to solve the match after the first 15 minutes, but in the wrong way."

"He lost the position, he attacked too much the other box. And I think this one is not one of the best characteristics of Kante."

Kante won two Premier League titles, with Leicester and Chelsea, playing in central midfield, but has been deployed out of position on the right to accommodate Jorginho in Sarri's chosen style.

Sarri said the 27-year-old — who signed a new five-year contract last week — should acknowledge his responsibilities lie elsewhere.

"Kante has to stay near to Jorginho, especially when the ball is on the other side," said Sarri, adding, "it depends on the action. If the ball is on the left, we have (Marcos) Alonso, (Eden) Hazard, (Mateo) Kovacic, (Ross) Barkley, so in that situation he has to stay very close to Jorginho."

Updated Date:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

Premier League: Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers urges team to fight through injury woes
Sports

Premier League: Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers urges team to fight through injury woes

Leicester are third, five points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea, with the top four guaranteed a place in Europe's elite club competition.

Premier League: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel urges Tammy Abraham to fight for place in squad
Sports

Premier League: Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel urges Tammy Abraham to fight for place in squad

Abraham, who has scored 12 goals in 30 appearances for Chelsea this season, was also substituted at half-time against Southampton the previous week.

Premier League: Up to 10,000 fans could return to English stadiums in May, says government
Sports

Premier League: Up to 10,000 fans could return to English stadiums in May, says government

Stadiums with more than 40,000 seats, including the home of Premier League leaders Manchester City, will be allowed up to 10,000 fans spaced out. Smaller major venues will be permitted a quarter capacity