Eden Hazard has remarkably claimed that Antonio Conte improved his game within the space of “a week” following his appointment as Chelsea boss.
The Belgian forward’s quotes, which appeared in the Daily Mirror, could be taken as a thinly-veiled swipe at former Blues boss Jose Mourinho and would be quite staggering given how the now Manchester United manager helped bring Hazard’s game on leaps and bounds.
The duo worked together for two years at Stamford Bridge before Mourinho was relieved of his managerial duties after a tumultuous time in west London – a period which came only five months following the club’s Premier League title triumph in May 2015.
Hazard, though, insisted that all of Chelsea’s players had been given individual boosts to their talents from the minute that Conte walked through the doors at the club’s Cobham training ground.
He said: “You have to (improve your game). Even after a week I think I had progressed with him.
“But I think he’s shown not just at Chelsea but also at Juve that he’s a good coach and I think he has some good years ahead of him.”
The 26-year-old, who has been rebuilding his match fitness after three months on the sidelines with a broken ankle, could also draw quizzical looks due to Chelsea’s spluttering start to the 2016/17 campaign.
There were ridiculous rumours that Conte could be sacked by Chelsea’s hierarchy after a 3-0 pasting by Arsenal last September, but the Italian’s tactical tweak ensured that the club went on a 13-match winning run after that defeat at the Emirates – form which eventually helped them lift a second league trophy in three seasons.
Hazard remained steadfast in his belief that Conte’s work on the training ground has proved to pay dividends for Chelsea though, in spite of what people may think.
He said: “There’s a lot of tactics. It’s not always nice as a forward as you have to run, defend and everything, but at least at the weekend, you know exactly what to do, you can even close your eyes and play. That’s good.
” data-viewability-attr=”//www.riddle.com/a/126450″ contenteditable=”false”>
“We work a lot. It’s not always easy in training, there are a lot of hours of training, but it bears fruit on the pitch. We play well, we won last year. You can see that that’s the key to success: work.”