Belfast Telegraph

Hiddink wants Hazard back on song for misfiring Blues

Guus Hiddink has challenged Eden Hazard to rediscover his "ego" to become a key player at Chelsea again. Stamford Bridge's new interim manager Hiddink has prioritised restoring the confidence shattered by nine Premier League defeats this term, and Jose Mourinho's sacking.

The 69-year-old wants Chelsea to locate the strutting self-assurance that underscored last season's league title charge, to guide the Blues away from relegation conflict.

Hazard could yet beat a hip problem in time to face Watford at Stamford Bridge today, with Hiddink intent on helping the 24-year-old hit back to his best after a miserable opening to the new campaign.

"He had a terrific season last year and it's also normal you can have a setback after that," said Hiddink.

"But I think he can be a key player again."

Hazard proved an unwitting stooge in Dr Eva Carneiro's Chelsea exit in September.

Blues medic Carneiro was branded "naive" for rushing onto the field to treat the Belgium star in Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Swansea on August 8.

One of Chelsea's most potent and creative attacking forces last term, Hazard has been a shadow of his former self - but Hiddink vowed to restore the ex-Lille star to former glories.

"He is an important player as captain of the national team in Belgium - but also here when he gets back into shape," said Hiddink.

"He was unlucky to be injured recently, which was another setback.

"We need to get the ego back for him to perform."

Hiddink will oversee Chelsea for the first match of his second spell at Stamford Bridge today, while Didier Drogba appears to inch ever closer to joining the Blues' backroom staff.

Former Chelsea hitman Drogba sat alongside Hiddink and owner Roman Abramovich during the 3-1 win at home to Sunderland last weekend.

The 37-year-old remains contracted for another season at Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer, but could yet assume a short-term role with Chelsea.

Drogba's MLS club have released a statement admitting talks with Chelsea over the Ivorian joining Hiddink's back-room staff on a temporary basis.

Montreal Impact want Drogba back for the start of the new season in March, however, leaving talks to continue between the two clubs.

"We are currently in contact with Didier Drogba and Chelsea FC," Montreal Impact confirmed via their Twitter page.

"We are doing everything we can to have him back with the Impact in 2016.

"We understand his attachment to his former club and his desire to help them.

"We are willing to accommodate him, but our objective is to have him back for another season, as was agreed in his contract with the club. This situation is out of our control.

"We would like to thank our supporters for their understanding and their patience."

Belfast Telegraph


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