Real Madrid assistant coach David Bettoni urged patience with Eden Hazard after the playmaker showed signs of his best in a win over Deportivo Alaves.
Hazard has struggled to find his best form since arriving at Madrid from Chelsea in 2019, but he scored once and set up another in Saturday’s 4-1 LaLiga victory.
The 30-year-old scored and assisted in a single game for Madrid for just the second time and first since October 2019 before coming off just after the hour-mark.
Bettoni, who took charge for the game after Zinedine Zidane tested positive for coronavirus, said Hazard needed time.
“I think Eden has had a tough season and a half with Real Madrid,” he told a news conference.
“We have to be patient with him, although obviously in football and especially at Real Madrid, we don’t really have time to be that patient but with Eden I think we have to be.
“He had a very good game, scoring a goal and getting an assist and I think we’ll see the best of him eventually. We saw a little bit of that today.”
Casemiro and Karim Benzema scored before Hazard’s strike, only for Joselu to pull a goal back for Alaves.
But Benzema sealed Madrid’s win after Hazard came off, the Frenchman reaching at least 15 goals in all competitions for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons with the LaLiga giants.
HALA MADRID! pic.twitter.com/Qd5CxjVjI4
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) January 23, 2021
Bettoni explained his decision to introduce Vinicius Junior in place of Hazard was a tactical choice.
“It was a change because we wanted to bring on Vinicius to give us a bit more pace,” he said.
“I think Hazard had a very good hour on the pitch and it was basically just to change things, to add a bit more pace to the front three and nothing more than that.”
Madrid are second in LaLiga, four points behind Atletico Madrid, who have played two fewer games.