Antonio Conte on Eden Hazard: It’s important Chelsea can play without striker
The Chelsea manager discusses Eden Hazard's performance after the leaders started without a centre-forward
Antonio Conte was happy with the performance of Eden Hazard as a false number nine after Chelsea were 3-0 winners against Leicester City on Saturday evening.
The west London side were without Diego Costa due to injury for their trip to the King Power Stadium which prompted Conte to start with a recognised striker despite the presence of Michy Batshuayi on the bench.
Marcos Alonso broke the deadlock in the first half before the Spanish wing-back extended the visitors’s lead with another impressive strike after half-time.
Former Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez sealed a 3-0 win after the Spain international combined with Willian to unlock the Leicester defence.
Hazard failed to get on the score sheet but the Belgium international did provide the assist for Alonso’s opening goal against the defending champions.
While the 2015 PFA player of the year failed to register a shot on target, Hazard touched the ball 63 times throughout the 3-0 win to highlight his important role in Conte’s side.
Speaking at his post-match media conference after Chelsea’s 3-0 win, Conte was asked about Hazard leading the line with help from Pedro and Willian.
Conte said: “It’s important to have another plan in your mind. To play without a number nine is another solution. We showed against Bournemouth and today, we played without a number nine and won 3-0, 3-0.
‘It’s important to always play as a team and to have different solutions is important for me and the team. Sometimes to change your plan is important.”