Sunday 9 December 2018

Eden Hazard reveals frustration with false-nine role after touching the ball 'three times' in Man City defeat

Chelsea's Eden Hazard looks dejected
Chelsea's Eden Hazard looks dejected

Andy Hampson

Eden Hazard felt an isolated figure as Chelsea slumped to a dismal defeat at Manchester City on Sunday.

The Belgian made no impact as he was deployed as a false nine by manager Antonio Conte.

It was a tactic that worked with some success in a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the Champions League last month but it backfired at the Etihad Stadium, where the 1-0 scoreline flattered the visitors.

A defensive-minded Chelsea failed to muster a shot on target and had only 29 per cent possession as they went down to Bernardo Silva's 46th-minute strike.

Hazard, whose miserable afternoon was ended when he was substituted in the 89th minute, said: "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. 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."

Hazard is unsure if Conte is likely to use him to perform a similar role again in future.

The 27-year-old said: "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."

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