Antonio Conte told Chelsea duo are more important than Eden Hazard

Charlie Nicholas has claimed that N'Golo Kante and Thibaut Courtois is more important to Chelsea than Eden Hazard

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Photo: The Sport Review

Charlie Nicholas has claimed that Thibaut Courtois and N’Golo Kante are more to Chelsea than Eden Hazard.

The Belgium international made his first start of the west London side since suffering a broken ankle at the end of the 2016-17 campaign on international duty.

Hazard made two assists as Chelsea eased to a resounding 5-1 victory over Nottingham Forest in the League Cup third round at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.

The Blues forward has come off the bench in Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Leicester City but was unable to create a late winner in last weekend’s goalless draw with Arsenal.

Kante was named the PFA player of the year back in April following his impressive impact in his first season at Stamford Bridge.

The defensive midfielder won back-to-back Premier League titles with Leicester City and Chelsea to establish himself as one of the division’s leading players.

Former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas considers Thibaut Courtois and Kante to be more important players to Chelsea than Hazard.

“Yes [Kante is Chelsea’s most important player]. And even the goalkeeper comes into that category for me,” Nicholas told Sky Sports News on Thursday.

“The reason is because you can have a quiet time, Hazard can have a quiet time, and the rest of the guys have got to do their jobs.

“Obviously in the US you would say Most Valuable Player, he’s [Hazard] in that category for Chelsea. He’s their best player. He’s a mega talent. And he’s a match-winner for them.

“But there’s more important players you’d have to fit in. After all, we see the response, it was his first start last night of the season.

“Thankfully he didn’t start against Arsenal last weekend. You can see the importance of the other players, but he is their go-to player.”

Hazard scored 16 goals in the Premier League last season to help Antonio Conte to win the title in his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues was named the 2015 PFA player of the year after Hazard proved instrumental in their title success under Jose Mourinho.

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