Guus Hiddink believes Eden Hazard must regain his “mental freshness” in order to rediscover his finest form for Chelsea.
The Belgium playmaker has been a shadow of the player he was last season – when he blasted 19 goals and won the Player of the Year award as the Blues marched to the Premier League title.
This season Hazard has played 27 times for Chelsea and has yet to score, despite scoring in all four of his appearances for Belgium.
Hiddink has challenged Hazard to rediscover his form amid talk of a move to Real Madrid and believes the 25-year-old needs to find some “freshness”.
Asked whether Hazard needed an arm around his shoulder, Hiddink said: “I’m not his mother, they get proper attention. They all have an individual approach. One needs a lash, another needs an arm. Another one needs to be pinched a bit. It’s different but we give him time to come back to his level.
“For me it’s about freshness. If your mind is fresh and players are eager to step up and enjoy training that’s a signal of freshness.
“He has won trophies but this season he has had some physical problems. Yesterday was the Ballon d’Or and you see the freshness of the players who win the Ballon d’Or – they are playing like youngsters.
“That’s what we are aiming for with him. He has to enjoy it and get rid of the physical problems then he will come into his normal shape.
“I think for the Ballon d’Or, you have to establish yourself over more seasons [than just one]. Hazard is capable in the future but there are other demands.”