Eden Hazard can reach his full potential under Maurizio Sarri’s system at Chelsea, according to assistant coach Gianfranco Zola.
The Chelsea winger has scored five goals in his last four club appearances and was elected to the 2018 FIFPro World XI ahead of the likes of Mohamed Salah and Neymar on Monday, having helped Belgium finish third at this year’s World Cup. Hazard has been used with care by Sarri in the early stages of the season, featuring as a substitute in the Blues’ opening two Premier League matches and being left out of the squad for the Europa League trip to PAOK last week. Zola believes the 27-year-old, who will be part of the squad against Liverpool in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, still has room to improve and Sarri’s attacking, possession-based system provides the ideal framework. “I think Eden has done magnificently in the World Cup, you can see he’s a player that is getting better and better. I don’t think, in my opinion, he’s reached his full potential,” said Zola, who added it was unlikely Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Antonio Rudiger or Pedro will take part against the Reds. “I believe he can use his skills in a better way, I truly believe that. I think this year the team, Maurizio in particular, we will help him to reach his full potential. “I don’t want to look like we’re not happy, we’re very happy about Eden. As you play, you get more experiences, you play for a high level for a long time, you get better and better, you know how to use your abilities in a better, more efficient way. This is what I meant. “[Improving] is a process he’ll do himself. Of course, we’ll try to make suggestions on how to be more effective on the pitch. “The way we try to play will benefit him a lot because we try to play in the opposition’s half a lot. The closer we keep him to the goal and the more balls we give him around the box the more effective he can be.” Gary Cahill has played just once for Chelsea this season and admitted he might have to leave in search of more regular football. Zola sympathised with Cahill’s concerns and urged him to take his chance when it inevitably comes. “Whether he plays or not [against Liverpool] is not going to be a reflection [on his future],” said the Italian. “It’s totally understandable he’s upset and we want him to be upset, it means he cares. But he’s been a top professional, doing everything correctly. “He just needs to be patient because he came late and the players that were here did very well. He will have his chance, and then it’s down to him to take those in the best way.”