The Dutch coach has admitted he has found it difficult to find a solution to the remarkable decline of last season’s PFA Player of the Year award winner Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has admitted he has never seen a player lose form as drastically as Eden Hazard during the current campaign.
Hazard was named the PFA Player of the Year last season as the Blues won the Premier League title but has endured a stark decline in 2015-16, scoring just two goals in the FA Cup.
Hiddink explained he had attempted to take the pressure off Hazard in order to help him back to his best but also conceded that the Belgian’s personality made him difficult to read.
When asked if he had ever seen a player lose form like Hazard, Hiddink said:”Not so drastically because he was the number one and now he is at the end of a long row of players.
“That is difficult. So yeah, what do you do… to some players, [you say]’hey, go away for one week on holiday’or whatever. He was away when he was injured, he went off a few days and you hope he can recover also.
“On the other hand, you must not dramatise so much. I think always you come back by trying to play like kids play. I think that is the best always, go away and try to think in the moment what you are doing. That is what I told him: ‘Go and play like a kid’.
“It is also about when everything I say is not a criticism towards him, you know. If you see his skills and you see his spontaneous action, which he did this week in two or three training sessions… he was very light and you see his movements and they are, by nature, they are perfect.
“The conditions are there but there are also the conditions about how do you cope with the season he has had now. How does he react? He can be on a very, very high level but it is not just the skills by nature but also the experience in the career.
“If I say now the word’desire’, that it is also about. I am not saying he doesn’t have desire, but he is a very quiet person and you can not read always about his desire, read minds.”
Elaborating on Hazard’s reserved nature, Hiddink says that the 25-year-old is not the type of player to ask for help but does not believe he has lost confidence in his ability.
“I think he has a difficult time and there are different characters,”the coach added. “One is [expressive], more outspoken than others, [whereas] he is the kind of guy who is quiet.
“The worries are there of course if you are the most valuable player one year and then one year later you are hardly playing. That is difficult.
“He is not a player who is asking ‘what can I do, what can I do’because of course this reward from last year (the PFA Player of the Year award), gives him a lot of confidence, which he had before but it is a big reward.
“Saying that, he is a quiet person and he is not coming too much to say’how can I sort it?’.
“In training this week I saw him training very spontaneously. I think you have to go in that road and that is not easy to try to avoid a lot of thinking about yourself and looking for causes that might not be there.”