Antonio Conte hits back at Eden Hazard over criticism of his Chelsea tactics


Antonio Conte hits back at Eden Hazard over criticism of his Chelsea tactics
Eden Hazard criticised his manager after last weekend’s defeat against Manchester City (Picture: Getty)

Antonio Conte insists he will have no hesitation asking Eden Hazard to play as a false nine again despite the Chelsea forward openly questioning his manager’s tactics last weekend.

Hazard cut a disgruntled figure as Chelsea were beaten 1-0 by Manchester City last Sunday, during which the 27-year-old was asked to play up front on his own.

The champions succeeded in nulifying City’s spellbinding forwards but showed almost no attacking intent, much to Hazard’s annoyance.

Conte, however, insists his plan worked just as he intended and the Italian is adamant that he will continue to vary his attacking system depending on the opposition.

Hazard on Conte

‘I had the feeling that I’d ran, but that I hadn’t played a game of football.

‘That’s a pity. We could have played on for three hours, but I wouldn’t touch a ball. It only went better at the end of the game.

‘I’m trying to jump but it’s not easy to win the duels against Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte.

‘We did not play with our qualities and if Alvaro Morata or Giroud is playing, it’s easier to play with long balls. But I’m trying to do the maximum.’

‘The tactics were the same against Barcelona [in the Champions League],’ Conte said.

‘Defensively, we were very good in both games. If you look at the stats, we conceded only two shots to Manchester City: one they scored, and another after a free kick and [Cesar Azpilicueta] saved it on the line.

‘I didn’t see a lot of shots on goal from Manchester City, and this is very strange. Usually when you play against Manchester City they shoot about 20 or 25 times every game. For sure, compare that with the Barcelona game, I think we were not so good in ball possession. We missed a lot of last passes.

‘For sure, we have to improve. We have to improve in personality, especially when there is a lot of pressure from our opponent. But the tactics were the same against Barcelona and, against Barcelona, I didn’t [hear] anyone complaining.

‘If I think it’s right for the team to play in this way, it’s okay. Otherwise I can take another decision and play with a striker. I can take different decisions. There are three players for two places. One has to go on the bench. Then I have to decide who has to go on the bench.’

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