Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri insisted that Eden Hazard was ‘joking as usual’ after being told that he would be on the bench for the Europa League semi-final first leg clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.
The 28-year-old was a surprise omission from the starting XI for the game at the Commerzbank Arena in Germany, coming on in the second half to replace Willian.
“[I told him] In the meeting before the match. Like all the others,” Sarri said. “Usually, I don’t speak with the players that I want to put on the bench. Eden, for me, is a player.
Probably he is the best player, but he is a player. And so I have to do it otherwise I have to speak to everyone for every match, and I don’t have the time.
“[He reacted] In the normal way. He was in the dressing room joking as usual, as normal. But he knows the truth very well.
“He knows very well that sometimes he has to rest. For a player that has to play 70 matches in a season, it’s normal. A normal reaction.”