Vincent Kompany has taken a cheeky dig at Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho by saying Eden Hazard is flourishing because he’s finally got an attacking manager.
The Chelsea star (the fourth best forward in the world according to FC 100) has been playing some of the best football of his career this season under Maurizio Sarri, who took over from the notoriously defensive-minded Antonio Conte in the summer. But the Manchester City captain says Hazard hasn’t had many attacking coaches in his career, having also played under Mourinho for two-and-a-half seasons.
“I think he was due an offensive manager,” Kompany told reporters. “I can’t remember him having that a lot in his career. Eventually a manager like this is what he needed, no matter where he was, to get the best out of him. The future is bright for him.”
The Belgium teammates will face each other at Stamford Bridge on Saturday with Chelsea desperate to cut the 10-point deficit on Premier League leaders City.
Chelsea’s title challenge has faltered in recent weeks with just one win in their last four matches but Kompany believes Sarri’s side are a huge threat to their unbeaten record.
“Chelsea is one of the most exciting teams in the Premier League this year,” he said. “Look at the way they try and build up, the way they try and play through the middle. The talent they have up front to create chances, you can only say that they are the real deal. And that is what makes this game exciting I think. It will be a good game.”
City survived a scare on Tuesday night when they held on for a 2-1 victory at Watford for a seventh successive win. But the Hornets were pushing for a late equaliser and Kompany said City had to show their character as they coped with the late onslaught.
“If you break the game down in the first 75 minutes and the last 15 minutes, you would say the first 75 was as strong as we have played really,” he said. “A little bit more clinical and we could score more. And then the last 15 was, for me, a show of character which I was really happy with.
“I think our team, we take it for granted sometimes that this team will perform well and score a lot of goals. But when you have to dig deep in the last 15 minutes like today in an away game, on a Tuesday night, I think we will take so much more out of that one.”