Gianfranco Zola has spoken about Eden Hazard’s quality, as well as providing some news regarding the fitness of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Victor Moses’s future.
The Italian spoke to the media at Cobham this afternoon, ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Sheffield Wednesday.
However, it was the performance of the team in last night’s Carabao Cup semi-final against Tottenham, which we progressed from on penalties, which Zola was asked about first.
‘I don’t know, it might be,’ he responded, when asked whether the quality of the display was a response to comments made by Maurizio Sarri following our defeat to Arsenal.
‘Certainly the players wanted to reach the final, they showed a lot of personality and a very good attitude. In the end the result and performance was a consequence of that. I’m delighted it came out because we needed it.
‘It can go one or two ways but sometimes criticism is not necessarily negative. Sometimes as a coach or manager you have to try and get the best from players, sometimes with a compliment, sometimes with criticism, I appreciate the players intelligently took it in the right way and reacted in the right way. That’s the most important thing.
‘We don’t question that these players can produce peak performances. What we’re trying to achieve is consistency in performances. It’s the nature of the league, you can’t afford to play two games well and one less good. The top teams are pushing up and we need to keep the pace.’
The assistant first team coach said a decision hasn’t been made on whether Gonzalo Higuain will feature on Sunday
‘I don’t know, we haven’t decided. He could do. It’s an opportunity, it’s a game at home, there are players who need to be rested and it could be an opportunity but we haven’t discussed it yet.’
Zola spoke about the performance of Eden Hazard in last night’s win over Tottenham
‘What he showed me yesterday was the reaction of a great player and great personality. I’m looking forward to seeing him between now and the end of the season, and more than that. It’s important to react in that way.
‘Certainly when we have teams who are waiting in their own half, when he plays in a wide area and he can have more freedom and drop, it gives a lot to his game. I believe he can do well also as a main striker but obviously that’s more when you have space in front of you. I believe that when he plays with a target in front of him, and he plays off him, he can do even better so I’m looking forward to seeing him there.’
The Italian confirmed Victor Moses is close to completing a loan move to Turkish side Fenerbahce
‘Yes, Chelsea have given him permission to talk to Fenerbahce. It’s a pity because he’s a wonderful professional but he couldn’t find the opportunities to show his value.’
He was also asked about the possibility of Alvaro Morata moving to Atletico Madrid
‘I don’t have updates so I can’t give any indications. There is an interest and I believe they’re working on it but I cannot tell you more.’
Zola also provided some positive news regarding the availability of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who hasn’t featured since limping out of our FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest.
‘Ruben is back in training with us today, I thought it would have been longer. Tomorrow we will make a decision if he’s in contention but he looks good.’