Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri believes his side has proved they can cope without Eden Hazard, although he doesn’t want to be missing the Belgian much longer.
The Premier League’s joint top scorer sat out Sunday’s comfortable 4-0 win at Burnley, which pushed the Londoners up to second in the Premier League, two points behind leaders Liverpool, thanks to an unbeaten 10-game start to the season.
Hazard is set to miss a third consecutive game when Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer Frank Lampard brings his Derby County side to Stamford Bridge in the League Cup in midweek after missing Thursday’s 3-1 win over BATE Borisov in the Europa League.
However, Sarri hopes he will have recovered from a back problem suffered in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United in time to feature at home to Crystal Palace next weekend.
In Hazard’s absence, Alvaro Morata opened the scoring with a much-needed goal for the Spanish striker before Ross Barkley, Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek chipped in with goals from midfield after half-time.
“Of course I want Eden to play in every match for us if it’s possible,” said Sarri.
“We have a lot of very good players here at the club, but he is something different.”
Sarri added: “I’m very happy because the team was able to score seven goals in two matches without him, but I want him back as soon as possible. I don’t know if he’ll be back and available for Wednesday, but I hope he is for Sunday.”
England international Barkley scored for the third straight Premier League game, while Loftus-Cheek followed up his impressive hat-trick against BATE with another goal.
“Ross is doing very well.
He’s improved in the defensive phase and he’s improved very much in his physical condition because last season was difficult for him with a very serious injury,” added Sarri.
“He is a very good player from a technical point of view.
He’s a complete player.”
Despite a dominant performance over a struggling Burnley, to bring up an impressive record of 10 wins and three draws in his opening 13 games in charge, Sarri is still striving for more.
“I’m not sure if this was our most complete performance of the season.
“We were in trouble for the first 10 minutes because Burnley started very aggressively and we were in trouble. Then we started to move the ball very well and we also defended better than in the last three matches so we’re very happy with the result.”
Burnley are three points above the relegation zone after their heaviest home defeat under Sean Dyche.
The Clarets boss, who has been in charge for six years, has now seen his side concede nine goals in the last two games after a 5-0 thrashing at Manchester City last weekend.
“It’s tough that we’ve played two teams on such unbelievable runs of form back to back,” said Dyche.
“We started off well, but we were punished for mistakes, and you can only marvel at the volumes of money Chelsea has spent on their squad.
“They were able to bring two World Cup-winners off the bench. From the stand it might not look too hard to face them, but let me assure you that it is.”
© Agence France-Presse