Maurizio Sarri has labelled Eden Hazard a ‘genius’ and the boss believes our Belgian star can get even better in time.
It was Hazard’s stunning solo strike that lit up Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup success at Anfield, and ahead of our second meeting with Liverpool in four days, Sarri answered questions from the media with our no.10 understandably the major talking point.
The boss also provided positive injury news and assessed the threat posed by Jurgen Klopp’s side tomorrow, but the press conference at Cobham began with Sarri asked whether Hazard was the best player in the world at the moment…
‘Maybe, I don’t know,’ he responded.
‘He is for sure one of the best, but I am absolutely convinced he can improve. If he is able to improve during training, maybe he will be able to use himself at 100 per cent. We have seen only 70, 75, 80 per cent of his potential. If he is able to improve he will be the best in the world.
‘It’s very difficult to compare him with other players. He is a genius. He is unique. Technically I think he is the best, and so I want him to be the best in the world.’
Sarri was asked how Hazard could improve
‘For example, with more intensity in training, more continuity from the physical and mental point of view. He has the opportunity to improve more.
‘It’s a very interesting challenge. He has a lot to give, to himself, the team, the staff. I want everything.’
Antonio Rudiger was injured in our last league game against West Ham
‘Yesterday he had the training in the second part with the team. We have to see the last training. I think there is the possibility to recover.’
Sarri also gave an update on Andreas Christensen, who went off on Wednesday, Pedro, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek
‘Christensen was not injured, he had only a stomach ache during the match. Pedro yesterday had the last part of the training with the team, like Rudiger and like Loftus-Cheek. We need to see the last training before we decide, but they are almost ready so the situation is better than three or four days ago.’
It was put to Sarri we would have a psychological advantage tomorrow because of our win on Wednesday
‘I don’t think so. Tomorrow is another match in another competition with a different starting XI. Maybe they can increase their determination after Wednesday. It was a difficult match on Wednesday and it will be a very difficult match tomorrow. Maybe it will be an open match like the one on Wednesday.
‘They are a top-level team. They have worked with the same coach for four seasons, and they are ready now to win the Premier League.’
Sarri acknowledged changing a winning team is hard
‘I was very happy with the performance of Fabregas and Cahill. They played for 90 minutes after a long time out. I don’t know if they are ready to play twice for 90 minutes in a week. I am sure they will be very useful for us during the season.’
Sarri was asked if he had spoken to Gary Cahill about his current situation
‘I have spoken with him but there is October, November, December, so he has to wait. I repeat, I was really very happy with the performance of Cahill [on Wednesday]. Gary is very useful for me now. January is far from now, so we will see.'