Maurizio Sarri believes Eden Hazard is only showing ‘70 to 80 per cent’ of his potential and told the Chelsea forward he must train harder if he is to become the best in the world.
Hazard has been in stunning form this season with six goals and two assists in all competitions for Chelsea, but Sarri believes there is significant room for improvement.
Sarri, whose side face a huge clash with Liverpool today, was asked if the Belgian is the best in the world and he replied: ‘Maybe, I don’t know. I think that he is for sure one of the best. But I am absolutely convinced that he can improve.
‘If he’s able to improve during training, maybe he will be able to use himself at 100 per cent because I think we have seen only 70-80 per cent of his potential. I think if he is able to improve he will be the best in the world.
‘For example, he can improve with more intensity in training. It’s very difficult to compare him with other players. He is a genius. It’s very difficult. He’s unique.
‘He has a lot to give. A lot to give to himself, to the team, to the staff. And I want everything.
‘I think he can do more in continuity, in intensity . . . not only in physical intensity but in mental intensity. So I have to try to improve him because my feeling is he can improve more.
‘I want to give him the chance to arrive at 100 per cent because my feeling is now he’s only at 80 per cent. So I want to help him to be the best player in the world.’
Chelsea face Liverpool for the second time in four days having beaten them 2-1 in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday thanks to a brilliant solo goal from Hazard.
Today will be a true test of their status in the Premier League after they failed to stump up a significant title defence last season.
Sarri has made it his mission to solve the mystery of Chelsea’s biennial collapses.
The Italian revealed yesterday he has become preoccupied with the quirk of how this yo-yoing club have failed to back up two title-winning seasons in the past four years. ‘The history of this club is a little bit strange,’ he said. ‘In 2014-15, 87 points. 2015-16, 50 points. That’s very strange with the same coach (Jose Mourinho) and the same group.
‘Then 93 points (in 16-17), then 70 points last season with the same coach (Antonio Conte) and group. So the numbers are a little bit strange. I need to understand why. I am studying.
‘I think that these numbers tell us something. I don’t know what at the moment but I want to understand and help my players to be at the same level. Maybe if you are lucky or unlucky you can gain 85 points or 80, but the difference in one season is 43 points! I have to understand why. I have to help my players be at the same level for a long period.
‘I don’t know why it is, because they usually train very well with continuity. So the attitude is good. There is probably something from the mental point of view. I have to understand it.’