Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was wrong to deploy Eden Hazard as striker in the absence of natural strikers this season, according to Gianfranco Zola.
The Belgium international has struggled for form for majority of the season, and following a severe knee injury in the summer, many blamed his lost form on a slow recovery.
However, months after his full recovery, Hazard has still yet to rediscover the form that helped Chelsea win the Premier League title last season. His goals have dried up while the Blues fail to register important wins this season. Currently, lying fourth behind the two Manchester clubs Tottenham Hostpur and Liverpool.
Zola says Conte made a mistake playing Hazard as a striker, as the role means he’s too close to goal scoring action which reduces his contributions in attack.
“When Hazard plays deeper, it allows him to come off the pressure and run at players. It’s perfect for him.
He is very similar to what I was as a player. If I had to be the main striker and stay around the box, it would limit my possibilities, my strength. While if I had more space to go around and look for the ball, my game was much better.”
Gianfranco Zola, Evening Standard
Hopefully, with the return of Alvaro Morata in the Chelsea squad after his back injury and the arrival of Olivier Giroud, Chelsea would not require the services of Hazard upfront against opponents.