Chelsea winger Eden Hazard has criticized Antonio Conte’s tactics of using him as a false nine in his sides’ recent 1-0 defeat against Manchester City.
In what can be described as an utterly one-sided affair at the Etihad, Antonio Conte decided to go with Eden Hazard up front despite both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud were available for selection. The Belgian’s presence was hardly felt as he was cut an isolated figure as the Blues failed to register even a single shot on target. Soon after the stoke of half-an-hour mark, a contrasty stat showed while Manchester City’s David Silva had a whopping 55 touches, Hazard was restricted to just 8.
Guardiola’s men were enjoying a swift possession on the evening and midfielder Ilkay Gündogan ended the fixture with the most number of passes (167), while City – as a whole – completed 902 which is more than any other team has managed in a single Premier League game (since 2003-04).
167 – Ilkay Gündogan completed more passes on his own today vs Chelsea than Stoke City did as a team vs Southampton yesterday (162). Machine. pic.twitter.com/gasAoxwEfb
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 4, 2018
Speaking after the game, manager Antonio Conte defended his tactics and team selection, but Hazard was of a different opinion and said that his team made wrong choices.
“I wouldn’t have got a touch even if we played for three hours, even if we improved in the last 10 or 15 minutes,” the Belgium international said after the match. “We were better with the ball, but we needed to do that during the whole match.
“For me personally, it’s hard to play well if you only get the ball three times. But, when we got the ball, we had to use it better – we made the wrong choices.”
As things stand for Hazard, he was substituted on the 90th minute in place of Alvaro Morata. Expressing his frustration, the Belgian added that Chelsea’s approach of playing long-balls backfired as he was completely outpowered by the strength of Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte. Hence he felt that using either Morata or Giroud would have been a viable option rather.
“I was trying to jump, but it’s not easy to win duels against Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte,” he said. “We didn’t play to our strengths today. If Morata or Giroud played, it would have been easier to play with long balls. I did my best.
“Conte put me up front, I tried to do my maximum, but I don’t think we played a good match.”