Former Chelsea forward Gianfranco Zola has backed Eden Hazard to emerge from his poor form as a better player, and suggested that getting over his struggles will be "good for him in the long run."
Zola, who represented Chelsea between 1996 and 2003, has likened Hazard's situation to the poor form he struggled with during his second season with the Blues in 1997.
"Hazard is in a similar situation to I was at Chelsea in my second year. The first year was very good, as it was for Hazard," he said, according to the Evening Standard.
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"He did so much, received so much recognition and now the spotlight is on him all the time and this is making everything he does a little more difficult."
Voted both the PFA and FWA's Player of the Year following his success last season, when he was pivotal in driving Chelsea to the Premier League title, the Belgian has failed to hit the mark this season.
Hazard is goalless after 18 games this term and managed only two assists in the league so far - and whilst he's not the only underperformer, Mourinho has previously dropped the winger as a result of his poor form.
Despite this, Zola believes Hazard can bounce back and become an even better player than he was last season.
"Every player goes through this but in a way I think it will be good for him as it will make him think about his game a bit more," he continued.
"So it's an opportunity for him to become a better player. He is young and has the potential to be one of the best."
Since retiring from football in 2005, Zola has remained a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge. The Italian also had some positive words for manager Jose Mourinho, backing him to turn Chelsea's season around.
"From the outside you can see it's not working. If you want to come out of this situation you have to work really hard and stick together.
"Mourinho is the right person, he has done so much for Chelsea, he has won so much and he has the experience to come through this."
"He is a good manager, no one can doubt him. Sometimes seasons don't go the way you want, that doesn't take anything away from your qualities."
Chelsea return to action on Saturday following the international break, when they host Norwich City at Stamford Bridge.News Now - Sport News