Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has sent a pointed and public message to Eden Hazard, saying he wants the player to make full use of his “top talent” to become a “top player”.
In a statement reminiscent of his comments about Joe Cole in 2004, and how he wanted the English playmaker to add another side of to his game, Mourinho said he wanted more “responsibility and ambition” from the player he calls ‘Ede’.
"I call him Ede because it is easy," Mourinho said. “Many of them call him Eden but for me Ede is easy -- he didn’t complain.
"I want more responsibility and more ambition. When you are a normal player you have to be happy if you perform okay, when you have actions during the game that show quality. But when you are a top talent you can’t waste that talent, when somebody gives you that talent.
"I think at this talent level he is somebody very above us. I want to give him that responsibility and ambition for the kid to be better and better and to express himself on the pitch match after match. Don’t be up and down but to always be at the top of his game because he has the conditions to be a top player. This is what I want -- whether I can get it I don’t know but he is working very, very hard. I’m very happy with the kid."
Mourinho also lionised another player who developed under his tutelage, saying Frank Lampard’s new contract was one of the best pieces of business Chelsea did in the summer.
"I think everybody wanted it to happen," he said. "The club always wanted it; Frank always wanted it. When I came into the picture I was happy for him to stay. It was clear that the fans last season also wanted it. Let’s all of us enjoy Frank and let Frank enjoy Chelsea and his football."
The Blues coach also said that the “crazy Frank” who wanted to play every minute is now gone, but that is better for a “competitor” who he could never see playing in a lower-profile league.
"We have a great relationship," he said of the 35-year-old England international. "I trust him a lot but he also knows that he’s not 25 anymore. The crazy Lamps that wants to play every minute of a Carling Cup match against a team from the Championship or the crazy Frank that wants to break the record of appearances and play in every minute of every match is not here anymore.
"Now he wants to keep his performances high for the most seasons we can. We have to be clever and intelligent and protect these players that are over 30. We will do that naturally and I believe he will be a fantastic player for us.
"I told him when I was not Chelsea manager, just by being a friend, I told him that that I wouldn’t see him play for another English club and I wouldn’t see him play in another small league because of his nature.
"If he wants to go to the States or China or one of these new markets he can play until 40 no problem. But I don’t see that. I see a competitor. He wants to play at this level and I think that he can."