Jose Mourinho has admitted that Eden Hazard was far from his best during Chelsea's 3-0 win over Aston Villa at the weekend.
The Blues were comfortable winners in the end, but despite a poor showing from Paul Lambert's side, Hazard was unable to have an impact on the game. It was another substandard performance from the Belgian, who is still struggling to link up with new team-mates Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas.
Mourinho agreed with suggestions that the 23-year-old is yet to find his best form. The Special One said that Hazard needs to improve, but also insisted he was not too concerned.
Asked whether he thought Hazard was below par for the win against Aston Villa, Mourinho told reporters: "Yes. (I) agree.
"I don't know what he needs. I know he needs to play more than he did (against Villa).
"He started the season well. Eden played good matches with us.
"I think it's more an isolated not good performance than a period.
"No dramas and (I am) not too much worried about it, but (Saturday) was not his day, was not his performance."
Hazard has so far scored one goal and created two in all competitions. In comparison to Fabregas, who has assisted six, and Diego Costa, who has scored eight, it could be deemed as a poor return.
His form is in stark contrast to last season where he was frequently the creative hub for Chelsea. That form led to reports of a £60 million move to both Real Madrid and PSG and has led to him being offered a club record £200,000-a-week contract.
The contract, which Mourinho confirmed is likely to be announced in October, would make him the club's highest earner and tie his future to Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future.
World Cup lag
Mourinho believes his form could be down to fatigue accumulated from the World Cup. Hazard helped Belgium to the quarter-finals in Brazil before returning to west London.
"Not one [ of Chelsea's World Cup stars] arrived and had enough time in the pre-season to start the season in a very strong way," Mourinho added.
"All of them, they are coming step by step. Now they are getting into the intensity of the game."