Chelsea fans and critics alike were left baffled last night when Maurizio Sarri decided to omit Eden Hazard from the starting line up against Frankfurt.
The team sheets are in!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 2, 2019
Though it came as a major surprise, Maurizio Sarri has insisted that the Belgian did not take the omission otherwise and was seen ‘joking as usual’ from the dugout.
Maurizio Sarri also revealed that the 28-year-old had started 10 matches in a row and needed some respite to avoid fatigue for crucial upcoming fixtures.
Hazard’s presence also added some firepower to Chelsea’s bench in case they would be needed according to the Italian.
The 28-year-old eventually did come on to replace Willian near the hour mark as Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw by the Germans at the Commerzbank Arena.
When quizzed about Hazard’s reaction towards his exclusion from the starting line up, Sarri said:
“[I told him] In the meeting before the match. Like all the others, “Usually, I don’t speak with the players that I want to put on the bench. Eden, for me, is a player.
Probably he is the best player, but he is a player. And so I have to do it otherwise I have to speak to everyone for every match, and I don’t have the time.
“[He reacted] In the normal way. He was in the dressing room joking as usual, as normal. But he knows the truth very well.
“He knows very well that sometimes he has to rest. For a player that has to play 70 matches in a season, it’s normal. A normal reaction.”