Eden Hazard and Willian sends message to Antonio Conte over Chelsea team selection

Chelsea attackers Eden Hazard and Willian appear to have called out Antonio Conte’s recent defensive tactics and urged their manager to play them together more often.

The Italian boss has increasingly dabbled with a 3-5-2 formation this season that has seen an attacker sacrificed for a midfielder, with Hazard usually partnering the out-of-form Alvaro Morata.

But the club-record signing from Real Madrid was suspended for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Brighton, meaning Conte picked Willian and Hazard alongside Michy Batshuayi in attack.

The decision was inspired, with both players scoring inside the first six minutes to set up a thumping 4-0 victory over the Seagulls.

The Brazilian’s goal was especially eye-catching thanks to superb interplay and first-time flicks between Willian, Hazard and Batshuayi.

It was the first time in six Premier League matches – since a goalless draw against Everton – that Willian and Hazard started together, and judging by their post-match interview on ChelseaTV they are eager for Conte to keep picking them… Hazard:

‘It’s easy to play you know-‘

Willian: ‘-when we play together.’

Hazard: ‘I want to say the same you know.’

Willian: ‘Yeah, when we play together it’s easy.’

Hazard: ‘It’s easy to play together… but Antonio OK, you know?’

Both laugh.

Hazard scored twice against Brighton to take his Premier League tally for the season to eight goals and two assists, while Willian has also scored or assisted 10 goals.

Their good form comes at a time when Morata is struggling – firing blanks in his last six appearances – and has seen Chelsea linked with a host of strikers, including Edin Dzeko and Peter Crouch, to offer more support.

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