Eden Hazard dig aimed at Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte

EDEN HAZARD has more ‘freedom’ under Maurizio Sarri than he ever had under Antonio Conte or Jose Mourinho.

That is the verdict of BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks, who analysed Hazard’s display against Newcastle on Sunday.

Chelsea edged a 2-1 win at St James’ Park and it was a frantic end to the game with three goals in the final 15 minutes.

Hazard struck from the penalty spot – his first Premier League goal of the campaign – but has had a slow start to the campaign.

And Crooks thinks that Hazard is able to express himself on the pitch much more now than he did when Conte or Sarri.

“The penalty given by referee Paul Tierney was debatable but there is nothing debatable about the man who took the spot-kick, or his performance,” Crooks wrote in his BBC Sport column.

“Eden [Hazard] strolled through this game and was head and shoulders above everybody else on the pitch.

“The Belgium international seems to have been given the freedom to do whatever he likes under Maurizio Sarri.

“Not so under Mourinho or Conte. Both Sarri’s predecessors had volatile temperaments and fragile relationships with Hazard.

“For all of football’s rhetoric about sports science, fitness and the tactics of the modern game, there’s one thing that will never change.

“Managers need to take care of their best players or their best players will eventually desert them.”

Blues boss Sarri hailed his side’s mental strength after the win over the Magpies.

“From a character point of view, this is a strong team,” he said.

“It is important to start very well but it means nothing to be at the top now. The league is on 38 matches, not three.”

Chelsea are level on points with Liverpool, who beat Brighton 1-0 on Saturday.