A television broadcast camera films as Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard applauds the fans following the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on October 7, 2018. - Chelsea won the match 3-0. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) /
Agence France-Presse

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has said he is happy that Eden Hazard is staying this season, adding that he could be tempted to use him as a striker.

Hazard has started the Sarri era at Stamford Bridge in blistering form, scoring seven goals in eight Premier League matches and winning the division’s Player of the Month award for September.

Speaking after the 3-0 win at Southampton last weekend, Hazard said a move to Real Madrid would be a “dream” and he wants to “make it happen,” but he has since ruled out the possibility of leaving in January.

“His contract expires in 2020, but he’s staying here,” Sarri told Corriere dello Sport.

“Hazard is immense and I don’t think even he knows how much he can still improve. I said he could end up in the tight circle of the best three or four players in the world.

“The problem is he plays to enjoy himself and at times doesn’t realise the importance of moving from fun to reaping the rewards. At the end of the day, you’ve got to get the fruits of your labour.

“Hazard’s approach is a positive, but it can become a potential limitation too. He needs to lift his head up, look around and realise there’s a whole world in front of him that he can dictate with his feet for the good of the collective and not just the individual.”

Hazard has scored more league goals this season than Alvaro Morata, Olivier Giroud, Pedro Rodriguez and Willian combined, and Sarri said he had considered using him more centrally in a similar role to that played by Dries Mertens at Napoli.

“I was tempted to use Hazard as a centre-forward and I might consider it again in future, but it’s not the right time now,” he said. “We need to believe in Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata.

“I’d say this Chelsea side is only at 60-70 percent capacity right now, but how much we are missing and how much we need is not the same thing. It’s double that.”

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