Eden Hazard was a frustrated man during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester City on Sunday.
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The Belgian wizard, 27, played up top on his own in a false nine as Antonio Conte set his team up in an ultra-defensive system and didn’t have a shot on target and only 29 percent of the possession with both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud sat on the bench.
Speaking to Belgian outlet HLN after the game, Hazard admitted Conte’s defensive gameplan didn’t suit him but he also pointed to his team being poor in possession.
“When you leave the pitch you have the impression that you’ve ran, but that you haven’t played a game of football – that’s a pity. We could have played on for three hours and I wouldn’t touch a ball,” Hazard said. “Only at the end it went better. In the last 10-15 minutes we had more possession but we should have tried to do that all game. I don’t know. When the manager plays me up front I try to give everything. But we haven’t played a good game and for me personally it’s difficult to play a good game when you only touch the ball three times.
“I think that when we had the ball we should have done better. We made some bad decisions too. There weren’t a lot of opportunities. We had a few situations where we could possibly create something but we didn’t. If we’d taken these opportunities, we could maybe have scored a goal. But we played against Man City. It’s difficult.”
Comments like this from Hazard will do little to quell rumors that 1) he is keen on moving on to Real Madrid this summer and 2) Conte’s time is up at Chelsea.
When all is said and done, Conte’s decision to play a virtual 5-4-1- formation away at City will be remembered by Chelsea’s fans as the day he showed an extreme lack of ambition with his team selection, and faith in his players.
It wasn’t the fact that City lost at Chelsea but rather that they looked scared from the start and didn’t try to get anything from the game until the final few minutes.
Five points off the top four with nine games to go, Conte’s time at Chelsea appears to be coming to an end with the Italian coach expected to depart at the end of this season. His tactics led to Chelsea winning the title in stunning fashion last season but negative tactics at the end of this season have certainly played a large part in his downfall.