Chelsea winger Eden Hazard and Liverpool striker Christian Benteke have been targeted for scathing criticism by Belgium manager Marc Wilmots after disappointing performances for their national team. Belgium moved to the brink of qualification for next summer's European Championships on Sunday (6 September) but could only record a narrow 1-0 victory over Cyprus in doing so.
Hazard, 24, scored the winner for his side but his manager still felt he provided the worst performance of all on a frustrating evening for the head coach. "He [Hazard] was the worst tonight," Wilmots said, according to the Daily Telegraph. "I thought about substituting him, but in the last 10 minutes he always has the ability to do that [score a goal]. At the World Cup, this was the case. I obviously expect more from him, but he will grow as the season progresses."
Benteke, who is having extra sessions with sports mental coach Michel Bruyninckx to help him deal with the pressures of his £32m move to Anfield, was also criticised by Wilmots, who accused the striker of putting in a "half performance". Belgium beat Bosnia and Herzegovina on Thursday (3 September) before last night's win and, thanks to Wales's goalless draw with Israel in Cardiff, Wilmots' side still stand a chance of topping Group B.
But the Red Devils boss is still dissatisfied with the contribution of his players. "We won two games in a row but this is the worst team performance I have seen and we will try to rectify the issue. But we believed until the end that we would score and manage to get the result we needed."
Hazard has endured a similarly slow start to the season for Chelsea, failing to score in the club's opening four games. Benteke, meanwhile, scored on his home debut for Liverpool, as well as impressing in the goalless draw against Arsenal at the Emirates.