Eden Hazard has told Maurizio Sarri he is happy to continue at centre forward as Chelsea search for their best attacking formula.
Hazard did not warm to the role when deployed through the middle by Antonio Conte last season, mainly because he disliked competing for the long balls fired in his direction.
The Belgian preferred to be wider with more space but Sarri has played him centrally in the last two Premier League games and sees no reason to change.
‘He told me that he likes very much to play there,’ said the Chelsea manager. ‘I wasn’t here last season so I don’t know why Eden told people this. At the moment, he likes very much to play there.
‘There isn’t a best position for him. He is a wonderful player with a very high level of imagination. He needs to be let free on the pitch.’
Hazard was at centre forward for the wins against Manchester City and Brighton and scored twice in his last two appearances after more than two months without a goal.
Sarri has explained his thinking to Olivier Giroud, who was recalled against Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup. Alvaro Morata is back in full training after a knee injury but may not be ready to start against Leicester today.
‘We started the last two matches with Eden as a striker,’ said Sarri. ‘In the first match it was only a tactical choice. Then I wanted to see if the solution can work in other situations or not.
‘At the moment, the solution is good. We played a very good match against Manchester City and against Brighton we were very dangerous for 60 minutes. Now I want to see the same situation in a normal match against a very compact team.’
Chelsea have targeted a new striker as a matter of priority when the transfer market opens in January. Gianfranco Zola revealed interest in Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson but Sarri retreated from the remarks of his assistant, for fear of upsetting Eddie Howe.
‘I don’t know about Wilson,’ said Sarri. ‘As you know, Eddie is a friend and I want to see him very happy.’
He would rather move again for Gonzalo Higuain who starred for him at Napoli and is on loan from Juventus at AC Milan.
‘I like him very much,’ said Sarri who could not convince Chelsea to swoop in the summer. ‘He is a wonderful player, a wonderful man but I don’t want to talk about Higuain.
‘I have two strikers, two-and-a-half at the moment, and Gonzalo is playing for AC Milan. It’s better not to talk.’
Defender Andreas Christensen has been ruled out for a week with a hamstring injury and has been told to forget about leaving in January.
‘He is an important player for us,’ said Sarri. ‘He didn’t play very often in the Premier League but he played all the other matches. He will be even more important in the future.’Daily Mail