Almost everything both on and off the pitch went against last season. From poor form to public lashing by their coach then and rumours of potential exit from the club, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa endured argauably the most difficult period of their careers.
Both had a successful season in 2014/2015 season as Chelsea won the league but later came the turbulent period they couldn’t have imagined and which they had no answer for.
Jose Mourinho had brought Costa from Atletico Madrid in 2014 while Hazard had been at the Stamford Bridge two years earlier and a year before Mourinho’s return to the club. Costa became an instant hit in the Premier League scoring 21 league goals enroute to winning the title while Hazard master class saw him scored 14 goasl and won the PFA Players’Player of the and FWA Footballer of the Years awards.
But the pair faced serious criticism from Mourinho the following season. It was indeed tough for them and there were news or rumours of revolt by the big players who were delibrately performing poor which evebtually led to his sack in December 2015. The former Inter Milan and Real Madrid coach had earlier dropped Hazard from the team and he could not score his first league goal until April 2016 while Costa could only managed 12 goals.
Fat forward to this season, the two have been the catalyst of Chelsea sudden resurgence, with Hazard topping the list of highest scoring midfielder with 7 goals. They have 16 goals between them and Antonio Conte has been able to help rediscover their form and they are rewarding him immensely with goals on the pitch.
Their resurgence showed that public lashing of players or dropping them from the team will not bring out the best in them but rather it will further damage their career. Each player has his own down time and when such occurs they need the assurance of their coach.
The same crop of players Mourinho criticized are getting the result for Conte.