Antonio Conte told Eden Hazard is not up to scratch at Chelsea
Charlie Nicholas says Eden Hazard is not yet fully fit for Chelsea after their defeat by Crystal Palace
Eden Hazard is not in the shape needed to produce his best form for Chelsea, according to Charlie Nicholas.
The Belgian playmaker has been working his way back to full fitness after recovering from a serious ankle injury suffered while on international duty at the start of the summer.
Hazard earned huge amounts of praise as he was named as the man of the match in Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last month.
The 26-year-old has been working hard on getting back to full fitness but was unable to prevent the Blues from slipping to a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.
Former Arsenal star Nicholas believes that Hazard is still some way away from being fully fit for the west London side.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Nicholas said: “Eden Hazard barely had a touch [against Palace].
“I just look at him and he doesn’t look in shape to produce those slalom runs. He was top-notch last season but I was watching him closely and that burst of pace wasn’t there.
“I understand it takes some players longer than others after injuries and when that sharpness comes back he’ll be flying again, but for this game [against Roma] Antonio Conte has issues.”
Hazard will be expecting to feature for Chelsea when the Blues return to Champions League action on Wednesday night with a home clash against Roma at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have been in top Champions League form so far this season, after having beaten Qarabag and Atletico Madrid in their opening two games.
Chelsea are currently nine points behind leaders Manchester City in the Premier League table.