Chelsea’s poor start to the season seems to have impacted their star man, Eden Hazard.
The Belgian winger is the reigning PFA Player of the Season and dazzled for the reigning Premier League champs during the 2014-15 season, but through the first four games of the new PL season he has failed to score a goal and Chelsea have just four points after losing twice.
Despite those struggles for his club, Hazard has scored twice in Belgium’s two European qualifying wins against Bosnia and Cyprus over the past five days. However in the latter victory, which saw Hazard score an 85th minute winner to all but seal Belgium’s spot in the finals in France next summer, his manager Marc Wilmots was hugely critical of his display.
Here’s what Wilmots had to say about Hazard following the 1-0 win over Cyprus which leaves Les Diables Rouges needing one win from their final two Group B games vs. Andorra and Israel.
“He [Hazard) was the worst tonight,” Wilmots said. “I thought about substituting him, but in the last 10 minutes he always has the ability to do that. At the World Cup, this was the case. I obviously expect more from him, but he will grow as the season progresses.”
Talk about scathing… sheesh.
Wilmots is a passionate man and his frustration at seeing Hazard rip apart opposition defenses for Chelsea in the PL week in, week out, but not replicating that form for his national team, have obviously left the former national team captain exasperated. With Hazard struggling to make an impact at the 2014 World Cup last summer, Wilmots will be hoping one of his star men can peak at the European Championships next summer as Belgium are currently ranked No. 2 in the world by FIFA and are among the favorites to win the European title.
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However, Hazard was not the only PL star to feel the wrath of Wilmots’ remarks. Oh no. Liverpool’s Christian Benteke was hooked off a half time of the match in Cyprus and was accused of putting in a “half performance” from Wilmots.
Belgium haven’t set the world alight during qualifying for the Euro’s, but is all this really necessary from Wilmots?
He has a hugely talented squad, maybe the best collective group of individual players in Europe, so perhaps he is trying to put a rocket up their backside to spark them into life ahead of what looks like being their best-ever chance to win a major tournament next summer.