LONDON: Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink believes Eden Hazard can respond to his disappointing season and win the Ballon D’Or in the future.
The Belgian playmaker was last year’s PFA Player of the Year but has failed to even score in club football so far this current campaign.
Hazard will miss Wednesday’s home Premier League match with West Bromwich Albion as he recovers from a groin injury but he has returned to training and Hiddink believes he will come good again when he resumes action.
“It’s for me about freshness,” he said. “If the mind is fresh, if players are eager to step on to the training ground and enjoy training, it’s a signal of freshness.
“For him it’s the same. He has won these trophies but had this season with some mostly physical problems. Yesterday was the Ballon d’Or. If you see the freshness of players after having won already I don’t know how many times the Ballon d’Or and there the freshness, playing like a youngster, is there.
“That’s what we’re aiming for with him as well. He has to enjoy it and get rid of his physical problems. Automatically he will come into his normal shape of play.
“For the Ballon d’Or you have to establish yourself not just in one season but to get this reward for more seasons. Hazard is capable in the future, but there are now other demands.”
Hiddink insists he will not be taking the “arm around him” approach in a bid to get the 25-year-old back to his best.
“I am not his mother,” he insisted. “They get proper attention and it’s all an individual approach. One needs a lash, another one needs an arm. It’s individual.
“Another one needs to be pinched a bit. It’s different. But we give him the time to come back to the level where he can play.”
Hiddink coy on transfer plans
Hiddink has not given up hope of reaching the Premier League’s top four this term but refused to discuss whether the club are interested in signing a striker.
“We talk (with the board), yes,” he said. “That’s I think between us and I don’t think it’s now the moment to go public if we have some wishes or we feel that we have to cover up a position. First things have to be done before you go out (publicly).
“So far I don’t think there have been a lot of transactions.
“Clubs might panic at the end or wait. Tactics or strategies behind a signing. They might wait until the ultimate [or 11th]hour.”
Hiddink’s arrival has coincided with an upturn in fortunes with Chelsea unbeaten in four league games since Jose Mourinho’s departure, but the Blues remain 13 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
“So long as we have the possibility to go to fourth place we will go for that. Meanwhile, when it’s not happening, maybe step by step also young players get every now and then the chance to participate in the first squad,” Hiddink said.
“You know what the average score has to be and that’s very, very difficult. I have not a specific target and it’s also not an issue bringing in youngsters to say I will let it go.
“The youngsters must try to learn also to work under this pressure. As long as we have theoretically and mathematically the possibility to go into fourth place I will not hesitate whenever possible to bring in youngsters as well.
“It’s not that we are without chances to go there and then we bring in youngsters, no. If possible, but they must have the basic quality.”
Hiddink confirmed Diego Costa is fit after a bruised knee and will start against West Brom while Loic Remy will also come into contention.