Conte blind to Hazard's faults as false nine, claims Chelsea legend Wise

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The Blues continue to persevere with using their Belgian star in a central striking role, but that tactical approach has drawn plenty of criticism

Antonio Conte is blind to Eden Hazard’s deficiencies as a ‘false nine’, says Dennis Wise, with Chelsea needing to tweak their tactical approach.

The Blues have enjoyed success with their Belgian forward operating as a central striker, with his ability to drop deep and work between the lines posing problems to opposition defences.

Hazard has, however, admitted that he feels more comfortable in a wide berth, with a playmaking post offering him greater freedom to drift and dictate the play.

Conte has turned a deaf ear to those calls, though, with a forgettable performance put in by his most creative talent during a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.

Former Blues skipper Wise told Sky Sports on the perseverance with a ‘false nine’ role: "Hazard is not a centre-forward, I don't believe.

"Maybe he [Conte] felt against Barcelona they did well in that system, he felt it could work against City. It didn't.

"When you know it's not working you expect a change around 50 minutes to change the way your team is playing and that was the disappointing this about it, in the manner the substitution came on.

"You've got two strikers sitting on the bench ready to come on and all of a sudden you put one on in 80 minutes and another one in close to 90 minutes to affect the game. You can't do that.

"I think it was wrong in the way they set their stall out and the way they played. It was against a great team and you might as well go down and go down at least having a go."

Chelsea did have Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud on the bench at the Etihad Stadium, but only introduced the latter with 12 minutes remaining and the former in second-half stoppage-time.

A costly defeat has left the Blues fifth in the Premier League table, with Wise acknowledging that their season – with Champions League qualification a must – is likely to rest on a London derby date with Tottenham.

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He said: “It boils down to the result at Stamford Bridge, it's a really big game on April 1 against Spurs.

“Chelsea have got to win that. You won't find out until after that situation how Chelsea are going to get into a Champions League spot.

“It's a massive, massive game for Chelsea and they can only look at getting three points against Spurs.”

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