By 90Min
January 26, 2019

Chelsea assistant manager Gianfranco Zola has insisted that both Maurizio Sarri and Eden Hazard are working hard to find 'common ground' at the club. 

The former Napoli boss claimed Hazard 'wasn't a leader' following a defeat to Arsenal this month, although the Belgian superstar responded after guiding Chelsea to the Carabao Cup final with a win over Tottenham.

Sarri described the 28-year-old's display at Stamford Bridge as 'wonderful' after the semi-final win, and Zola has revealed how they're trying to find the right balance between defensive organisation without hindering the attacking talents at the club.

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As quoted by The Independent, Zola said: "We try to give him freedom but we are also trying to be an organised team, defensively and offensively but especially defensively. 

"So that’s why we ask Eden sometime to put himself about in working hard. We know it is not his best quality. We understand that he needs to be fresh when he receives the ball. There is no doubt we are on the same page. 

"But we want to find a common ground where he can get the best out of himself and the team can benefit from him, not only when he is scoring goals but when there are moments in the game when we need everyone to defend and to press."

Hazard has 13 goals and ten assists across all competitions, with the Belgian operating from both the left wing and as a 'false nine', although the recent arrival of Gonzalo Higuain on loan could mean a return to a much-preferred wider position for the two-time Premier League winner.

Next for Chelsea is an FA Cup fourth round tie against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday as the Blues look to carry the momentum of their win over Spurs forward following Sarri's outburst, with Zola backing his compatriot, insisting it showed he 'cared'. 

He added: "Maurizio has got his own temper and his own character but he is a very intelligent person and I believe his intelligence is superior to his temper. He is learning and trying to keep his personality. He is adapting to the situation.

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

"We are working out the solutions to be better and sometimes in a strong way, like Maurizio was straight after Arsenal by criticising some things. Sometimes the reaction means that you care and you want to be on top of it."

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