Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard can be “unstoppable” if he is more selfish and is second only in ability to Leo Messi, according to teammate Cesc Fabregas.
Hazard and Fabregas came off the substitutes’ bench to have influential roles in Chelsea’s 4-2 FA Cup semifinal win over Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday.
Belgium playmaker Hazard has rediscovered the scintillating form of Chelsea’s last title-winning season, in 2014-15, to fire the Blues to the top of the Premier League and towards a possible double.
The 26-year-old scored Chelsea’s third against Spurs for his 15th goal of the season, with 14 coming in the league.
“Eden can be whatever he wants to be,” said Fabregas, who was a teammate of Messi’s at Barcelona.
“Ability wise, there is only one player above him and we all know who he is: Messi.
“Sometimes when we have a counter-attack and it’s two against two and he passes the ball, I tell him, ‘You have the capability to score by yourself. Do it.’
“He has to do it more often. I’ve told him many, many times, he needs to be selfish sometimes and have that killer instinct to score more goals.
“I hope — and I’m sure — he will improve in the future. And then he will be unstoppable.”
Chelsea’s loss at Manchester United on Easter Sunday saw the Premier League lead over Spurs cut to four points.
Antonio Conte’s Blues next play on Tuesday at home to Southampton, the first of their final six games which will determine the outcome of the title race.
It was the proximity of the Saints fixture which saw Hazard and Diego Costa start the Wembley clash on the bench, but they were called into action with around 30 minutes remaining.
“One of the very positive things about this season is that every time we had a defeat or a draw, we bounced back really, really quickly,” Fabregas added.
“Every time we had a bad game straight away we bounced back and we didn’t let it affect us. I think that’s a good sign.”
Fabregas downplayed the significance of the FA Cup win in relation to the Premier League.
“We know this game was 90 minutes, 120 [minutes], penalties, to go to a final,” he added.
“If it’s 2-2 at the end, you say, ‘Okay.’ But if on Tuesday it’s 2-2 it’s not the same. We want 3-2, because three points are vital for us.
“It’s better to be winners and to go to training with a happy face and with the confidence high.
“[But] Southampton didn’t play for 10 days. It will be a very tough game. It’s one of the most important games of the season.”
Should Chelsea hold on and clinch the title, they can achieve the double for the first time since 2009-10 under Carlo Ancelotti — and in Conte’s first season — with FA Cup final victory over Arsenal on May 27.
Former Arsenal captain Fabregas said: “It’s something special and it’s something very difficult to do.
“Nowadays, especially here in England. Because in Spain you can do it. In Germany you can do it. In Italy.
“Doing it here would be something special, something to be very proud of. But to be able to do that, first of all we have to work very hard.
“Secondly, sometimes you need a bit of luck. Definitely we need to be very, very consistent until the end of the season.”
Fabregas has spent much of the season on the bench, but he says, whether starting or not, the Chelsea squad is united.
“What I like is that we scored the first goal and everyone on the bench was together and celebrating,” he added.
“[But] coming on to make a difference, to show character, to show hunger to win… we’re full of winners and I’m proud to be here.”
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