Eden Hazard looked to be back to his best as Chelsea dominated Burnley in a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but manager Antonio Conte feels there is still room for improvement.
After being named PFA Player of the Year as Chelsea won the Premier League title in 2014-15, Hazard’s form significantly dipped during a woeful campaign for the club last term, failing to score a top-flight goal until April.
The Belgian netted from the penalty spot in the opening 2-1 win over West Ham and struck after just nine minutes against Burnley on Saturday, surging forward on the counter-attack and guiding home a fine finish from 20 yards.
Hazard had a shot cleared off the line by Ben Mee in the first half and goalkeeper Tom Heaton denied him twice after half-time, but Conte still expects more from the attacking midfielder.
“I think Eden is a fantastic player like the others, and is working very well with great attitude,” the Italian said in his post-match media conference.
“After the first day I saw his will to work very well, to improve, to find good shape, but I also can tell that Eden’s performance can improve a lot.
“But I’m pleased for his work-rate and commitment during the training session. The players have the right attitude and this is very important for me.”
The victory included Conte’s first clean sheet in his fourth competitive match at the helm and he believes that will help the players trust in his methods.
However, he rued the impending international break with his team starting the season in positive form.
“I think it’s a pity that now there is this break because I think that after three wins, I wanted to continue playing games,” he said.
“We have to stop for the international break, but with my staff we continue to work in this period of rest, to see the game, to watch the many good things and the few bad things and try to continue to improve.
“I’m pleased with the performance, with the win and the game because I think we played good football with good possession and created a lot of chances to score goals.
“I think the most important thing is that after 13 games that we conceded in at home, we didn’t concede a goal and I think this is good news for the players, for Chelsea, for me for the fans.
“When we start in this way you can work better and also the players can trust the work more. I see a lot of positive things about this, but I want to say that despite three wins [in the Premier League] we can, and we must, improve a lot because it’s important to continue to work and to build something of importance.”