It was always going to be interesting to see how Chelsea’s players reacted to Maurizio Sarri’s comments following their 2-0 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.
"This group of players are extremely difficult to motivate,” Sarri said, per BBC Sport.
“This is not a team known for its battling qualities.”
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand feared that the players would react badly, saying on BT Sport that they will be voicing their displeasure on WhatsApp.
Yet there was no sign of that in the first half when Tottenham Hotspur came to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final tie.
Chelsea, trailing 1-0 from the first meeting, scored two goals in the opening 45 minutes to turn the tie on its head.
Fernando Llorente sent the match to penalties but Chelsea progressed, winning 4-2 on penalties after Eric Dier and Lucas Moura missed from 12 yards.
Chelsea fans react to Hazard's display
Having started Eden Hazard as a false nine against Newcastle and Arsenal, it was back to the left wing for Chelsea's star man against Spurs, with Olivier Giroud playing up front.
And Sarri’s decision to play Hazard in his best position paid off, the Belgian doubling Chelsea’s lead in the 38th minute following N’Golo Kante’s opener.
Chelsea supporters believe that the 28-year-old’s performance will make Sarri realise just how important it is to play him with a striker, whether that’s Giroud or new signing Gonzalo Higuain.
That will allow Hazard to do what he does best by floating around the attack, finding space and scoring goals.
Even in the second half, when Tottenham found a way back into the game, Hazard was at the heart of everything Chelsea did going forwards.
Sarri turned to Hazard as a false nine due to a lack of options in attack.
With Alvaro Morata close to joining Atletico Madrid in an initial loan move, Giroud serves as the only other first-team striker.
But Higuain’s arrival will ensure that the onus isn’t entirely on Hazard to score Chelsea’s goals.News Now - Sport News