EPL: Why I played Hazard in number 9 instead of Batshuayi – Conte

Posted on Dec 25 2017 - 12:41am by admin

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte has defended his decision to play Eden Hazard as false 9 in place of suspended Alvaro Morata against Everton on Saturday.

Conte said his decision to deploy Hazard as a false No. 9 flanked by Pedro Rodriguez and Willian in the attack, was to create balance in the team.

And the Blues appeared to lack a focal point at times as they probed Everton’s deep-defence.

Michu Batshuayi was introduced in Willian’s place on 71 minutes, and the Italian gaffer was defiant when questioned about his decision not to play the Belgian striker earlier from the start.

Conte told post match news conference, “I think there is nothing to explain.

“I decided to play with Hazard, Willian and Pedro. It is not the first time.

“I have to make the best decision for my team, and today I think I made the best decision.

“It is very important to keep the balance during the game. Don’t forget today Morata was out and I think this player is very important for us, but at the same time we played with second options, with three No. 10s — Willian, Pedro, Hazard — and we created many chances. We must be more clinical.

“I understand [criticism] if you drew a game without dominating, without risk to lose the game.

“Today we were also a bit unlucky with the crossbar and with a lot of situations.

“This is football. The most important thing is to play football this way and force your opponent to defend.”

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