Maurizio Sarri has backed Eden Hazard to score 40 goals for Chelsea this season.
The Belgium bagged a fine hat-trick as the Blues thumped Cardiff 4-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, to move top of the Premier League on goal difference.
New boss Sarri became just the fourth man to win his first five matches in the Premier League, as the Blues extended their 100 per cent record in style.
He then revealed he told Hazard on Friday that he can boost his goal return considerably – by focusing on operating solely in the final third.
“Yesterday I said to him that for me you can score 40 goals,” said Sarri of Hazard.
“But you have to spend less energy far from goal and you have to play in the last 25 metres of the field.
“I think that he can spend less energy than he does now at 50 to 60 metres from the opposite goal.
“In these actions I think he spends a lot of energy, and he can have more energy in the last 25 metres.”
Hazard’s top return for Chelsea to date is the 18 goals scored in the 2016/17 campaign, with 16 of those coming in the Premier League.
But Sarri believes the 27-year-old has the chance to boost his goal return out of sight – and become the best player in Europe at the same time.
“When I arrived I thought that Hazard was one of the best players in Europe,” said Sarri.
“Now I have changed my mind: maybe he is the best. But I also think he can still improve more.”
Cardiff shocked Chelsea by sneaking an early lead courtesy of Sol Bamba’s smart flicked finish from a set-piece ruse.
Olivier Giroud laid on two goals in seven minutes for Hazard, though, who conjured a devastatingly clinical performance.
Hazard then converted a penalty with 10 minutes to play, before Willian blasted a fine fourth for the Blues.