Chelsea welcome relegation-battlers Huddersfield Town to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and it’s a game where the Blues must win and win very well, with our goal difference currently against us.
Chelsea have scored the least number of goals among the top six, and the 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth on Wednesday night compounded Chelsea’s woes, and it has ensured that Arsenal have surpassed Chelsea to the fourth position.
It’s been hard for Chelsea to find goals for some months now despite having started the season with a bang, and it’s been even more difficult for the midfield to feed the strikers, with Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud battling to score, and now Gonzalo Higuain is yet to even have a tangible shot on target.
Maurizio Sarri has now told his three wide players Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro to improve their game.
Sarri said Hazard, Willian and Pedro need to offer the team’s strikers more support and claimed Hazard must ‘do more tactically’.
Speaking particularly on Hazard, Sarri said: “I think he’s changing. He was used to playing as an individual player, now he has to play in a co-operative way. It’s not easy for him but I can see now he’s more available to playing in this way.
“Of course he needs to improve, that’s normal. He’s fantastic from the technical point of view and I think he can do more tactically. But at the moment it’s not easy for a striker to play in this team because we have a lot of individual players like Hazard, Willian and Pedro. So it’s not easy for the striker to do the right moment at the right time. In the last match if we’d scored before the opponents it would have been very different.”
Former Chelsea player and manager Ruud Gullit has advised Sarri to avoid saying anything negative about Hazard to the media else he might lose the dressing room.
Speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan, Gullit said: “It is very, very risky to criticise your players in public like Sarri did this week – even if you know you are right.
“Sometimes as a manager you really want to be open about what you are thinking, good or bad, and for the right reasons. You are hoping your players respond in the right way.
“But if that openness is misinterpreted by them, then you have more problems.
“What you really don’t want is a situation that plays out in the media like the one we have just seen at Chelsea. The only people who benefit when that happens are the newspapers.”
Sarri also revealed that Higuain is yet to be at his best form physically because of a back problem.
The Chelsea boss said: “I think at the moment he’s not at the top physically because in the last 45 days he played few matches, firstly because of his back and then he was involved in the market, so he needs to improve because he’s able to accelerate more than now.
“Then physically he will be useful for us immediately.”