Maurizio Sarri insists Eden Hazard is happy playing in a false nine role for Chelsea despite expressing reservations playing in that position while Antonio Conte was in charge earlier this year.
The Belgian has been deployed as a central striker by Sarri since the Manchester City game and has responded with two goals and two assists in three matches.
Sarri is still undecided about whether to play Hazard there long term but he is set to continue in the position at home to Leicester City on Saturday and his manager is adamant that he enjoys it despite him commenting to the contrary last term after a difficult game against Man City.
“He told me that he likes very much to play there,” said Sarri. “So I don’t know. I wasn’t here last season, so I don’t know why Eden told people this. But, at the moment, he likes very much to play there.”
Sarri, though, believes that whatever position Hazard plays he effectively has a free role anyway and very much allows his talisman to make his own decisions on the pitch.
“There isn’t a ‘best’ position for Hazard,” he said. “Hazard is a wonderful player with a very high level of imagination and I think he needs to be let free on the pitch. So I think there isn’t a ‘right’ position for him. But we need to have a very high level of organisation in ways to his movements.”
Sarri is unsure whether to play a more established striker as a central figure with Alvaro Morata injured and Olivier Giroud out of form.
“I was sure about the match against City,” said the Italian. “Of course, not about the result, but that Hazard in that position we could do a good match. I was quite sure of that.
“Then, against Brighton, I started to see this situation in different matches. Now I want to see the same situation in a normal match against a team very, very compact in density, low, where we have to see.”