Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink believes a revitalised Eden Hazard can prove the difference for incoming Blues boss Antonio Conte.
Hazard won numerous individual awards for his stunning individual displays in Chelsea’s Premier League and Capital One Cup double last season but – like his team – has suffered an alarming decline in form this term.
It took the Belgian playmaker until April to notch his first Premier League goal of the season, but he seems to have put his dark days behind him with four goals in his last four games for Chelsea – including the striker which sealed a draw against Tottenham to hand Leicester City the title.
The 25-year-old, who has been troubled by a hip and groin problem, is finding form just the campaign comes to a close, but Hiddink has tipped Hazard to find top form again next season.
“I’m pleased for this moment, but I would have been more pleased if it could have happened in February,” Hiddink said.
“After his splendid season before, he has had a difficult season.
“It was not just physically a problem for him but in a mental part. It’s frustrating when you’ve been the player of the year and the next year you are almost out.
“We brought him back with care, starting with a full-time game against Bournemouth and then, in a more intense game, half against Spurs, and he responded very well.
“So, it is important for him and for Chelsea that he’s almost back on his level where he can play and he’s enjoying it.
“That’s good for the future, for himself, for the Belgium team and for Chelsea.
“He has come back to his level. He can be improving as he gets more game rhythm in the upcoming time.
“He’s one of the key figures in Chelsea. He can be on top of a very well organised foundation, he can be the man who can make a lot of difference in the game.”