Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has sent a wise message to his teammates that they can’t afford to rely heavily on Eden Hazard all season.
The Belgian international has made a stunning start to the campaign, scoring seven goals and providing two assists in eight games including another superb goal against rivals Liverpool at the weekend.
While he’ll look to lead Maurizio Sarri’s side, Rudiger has made a crucial point in that others around the 27-year-old will also have to step up and deliver goals right throughout the team to ensure that the pressure doesn’t build on Hazard, while it would also make Chelsea a more dynamic outfit.
It’s sensible advice, but whether or not the likes of Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata can score consistently, something that they’ve struggled with at Stamford Bridge, is another matter.
“We need to learn to kill matches. It’s not only on Eden’s shoulders. We need the other players to help him with scoring,” he is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard. “He has been doing his job very well again, but the other guys must score too – Giroud, Morata, Willian have to score. As a team, all of us have to provide more goals, the defenders as well.
“With the quality of players we have on the pitch, it’s (the lack of goals from elsewhere) not too good.”
Time will tell if Rudiger’s warning is heeded and others make decisive contributions. If Sarri needed a perfect example of when things don’t end with trophies even if your talisman scores goals for fun, he doesn’t have to look far after Gonzalo Higuain’s memorable 2015/16 campaign.
The Argentine scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A games for Sarri’s Napoli that season, but it wasn’t enough to dethrone Juventus as they came second in the table.
While it will take something special for Hazard to replicate that level of form, the point remains the same in that Chelsea can ill-afford to be so reliant on one player if they want to win major honours this season.