Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has fired a stark warning to Belgian wide-man Eden Hazard after he was dropped for the 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
Last season's PFA Player of the Year was on the bench as the Portuguese manager favoured summer signing Pedro for the clash against the struggling Villains.
And the former Real Madrid boss warned the 24-year-old that will have to improve his defensive work if he wants to get back into the starting line-up.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
As per Sky Sports, the Special One said: "I left out Hazard because we are conceding lots of goals. We need to defend better.
"When you don't have the ball, quality means nothing and what means [thumps chest]... you have or you don't have.
"It was just a tactical decision, leaving super quality on the bench, but bringing tactical discipline and hoping that the team could be solid.
"Willian and Pedro did amazing defensive work and allowed the midfield players to be very comfortable. I continue that way, or he comes in our direction and tries to replicate the same work that Willian and Pedro did."
This all seems like a case of deja vu for Hazard and Mourinho. The same situation arose during the manager's first season back at the Bridge, but the Belgian eventually secured his place back in the starting line-up.
However, this latest turn could alert Real Madrid, who have been long-term admirers of the former Lille man.
Mourinho's assertion that players must work equally as hard at both ends of the pitch saw the demise of Juan Mata in west London. It could also be a deciding factor for the Belgian.
He is undoubtedly the most talented individual in Chelsea's squad, but under Mourinho talent only gets you so far. Hard work is the order of the day for the Portuguese boss.
Will Eden Hazard still be a Chelsea player at the start of next season? Have your say in the comments section below!