Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has vowed not to persuade Eden Hazard to remain at the club.
Sarri demands more from Hazard. (image courtesy AFP)

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says the way Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City played in the first fixture has forced the Blues to change tactics, leading to Eden Hazard playing in the central striker role.

Hazard has expressed his preference for playing as a winger in the past, but Sarri likes to move the Belgian to the centre in games where his team cannot dominate possession as they usually do.

Advertise With Us

Chelsea beat City 2-0 at home in December when Hazard played in the ‘false nine’ role and, ahead of Sunday’s trip to the Etihad Stadium, Sarri has hinted at another tactical switch against Pep Guardiola’s side.

Speaking to reporters at Cobham Training Centre on Friday, Sarri said, “At the moment the situation is different. We have another striker (Higuain instead of Morata).

“We can make another decision. But I don’t know; maybe we will play with a ‘false nine’. I have to decide.

“The situation is not like the other match, so I can decide something different or have a ‘false nine’. I expect Guardiola’s team want to always be in control of the match, always in possession of the ball and they’re able to do it. So, it’s a very difficult match.

“We are used to having the ball and possession so, on Sunday, it will be very different. Maybe we have to defend lower. [In December] they were able to press us in our half. It wasn’t a choice. It was a necessity. So, I think on Sunday it will be the same.

“You know very well that the midfield of Manchester City is one of the best in the world, not only Fernandinho but also Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, David Silva. Technically, they’re the best midfield in Europe at the moment, so it will be really very difficult to be in control of the match.

“We will try to play our football, but if they are able to play their football, of course, you have to stay lower. In the first match, we were lucky to score. Then, especially the first 20, 25 minutes of the second half, they gave us spaces, so it was a little bit easier.”