Antonio Conte has instructed Eden Hazard to bulk up

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Antonio Conte thinks he knows why Eden Hazard endured such a disastrous 2015/16 season.

The Chelsea star had to wait until April before he scored his first Premier League goal of the campaign and his dismal form was in part to blame for the Blues' awful title defence.

However, according to The Times, new manager Antonio Conte has studied Hazard's performances from last term closely and identified what made the Belgian lose his mojo.

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Conte believes Hazard was either tackled or pushed off the ball too easily and has ordered the midfielder to bulk up in an attempt to improve his strength while he has possession.

It is a big contrast to Conte's plans for the rest of the Chelsea squad, who have been instructed to slim down. The new boss has even gone to the effort of banning unhealthy foods such as pizza from the club's canteen in order to get his players in the ideal shape.

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It is thought the 25-year-old has been conducting extra sessions in the gymnasium throughout pre-season and into the campaign to build extra muscle.

Despite a late bloom towards the closing stages of the last campaign, stern disciplinarian Conte has taken no chances and has made every effort to restore Hazard to his former glory.

And if Hazard's opening day performance against West Ham is anything to go by, the Italian's keen eye is already reaping the rewards.

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League

Chelsea's No. 10 opened his account for the season with a brilliantly struck penalty as Conte picked up a 2-1 victory from his first game in charge.

Hazard showed glimpses of the form that won him the PFA Player of the Season award for 2014/15 and his captain John Terry was particularly encouraged by what he saw against the Hammers.

Terry told Chelsea's website: "He’s up there with the very best in the world for me.

"We relied on him too much last season and he can’t do it all on his own even though he almost does. He’s a world-class player and we’re very lucky to have him."

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Premier League
Diego Costa
John Terry
Eden Hazard

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