Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola is calling on current star Eden Hazard to better his best-ever scoring season at Stamford Bridge.
The twinkle-toed Italian spent six-and-a-half seasons lighting up west London between 1996 and 2003, the last of which being his most successful at the club.
In that 2002/03 campaign, Zola contributed 14 goals and seven assists in 38 Premier League games, while Belgian attacker Hazard’s most productive season in 2016/17 produced 16 goals and five assists.
Hazard now heads into Sunday’s home clash with Wolves on course to better those impressive numbers from two years ago.
And Zola is urging the 28-year-old, who currently has 12 goals and 11 assists to his name in 2018/19, to go on and achieve a personal-best campaign between now and the end of the season.
“He is a fantastic player, extremely good,” said Zola in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports.
“He has unbelievable potential and it seems to me that he is getting better and better each season.
“It is a pleasure to be on the bench and see him playing for you, as he is one of those players who makes things happen.
“I am pleased he is going to be breaking the previous best stats records in the club, but I am not surprised as I see what he can do.”
Chelsea face high-flying Wolves on Sunday part of a tight four-way battle for next season’s Champions League.
That top-four ambition had appeared in peril after February’s 6-0 mauling at champions Manchester City.
However, it seems the Etihad Stadium setback has proved to be a catalyst for an upturn in the club’s fortunes, with Maurizio Sarri’s side having their Champions League fate in their own hands as the season’s climax approaches.
“I try to give all my support to Maurizio, understand how he works, give the best I can, and to help him understand more about English football and the mentality of the people and the players,” said Chelsea’s assistant manager.
“It has been an interesting season! I’m learning a lot from him because he is a very well-prepared manager with huge qualities. And I really hope he is learning something from me!
“And the organisation he gives to the team is something special.
“It is normal that when you lose a game like that, you are not going to be happy at all. I believe that game has taught us a lot, to do things better on and off the pitch.
“And you will see that the team is improving a lot, performing better and we are starting to play again like we did at the start of the season.
“But we need something more and I think the experience taught us that sometimes on the pitch we can do something different.
“And also us in how we understand the players better in difficult moments and how we deal with these problems better.”