Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says there is more to come from Eden Hazard, after the Belgium forward masterminded Chelsea’s win against Brighton at the Amex Stadium.
Hazard scored one goal and assisted another as Chelsea, who started without a striker, held on to beat the Seagulls.
The 27-year-old set up the Blues’ opener with a wonderful pass across the face of goal for the arriving Pedro to tap in on 17 minutes.
Willian then pounced on a loose pass from Leon Balogun and played in Hazard, who ran from just over the halfway line, outpacing the Brighton defence before slotting past Mat Ryan.
It was his eighth league goal of the season, breaking an eight-game scoring drought, and he has nine assists – the most in Europe’s top five leagues.
“I think that Hazard could have played better because his level is a very high level,” said Sarri. “He can do more for him and for us.
“But I think after the two injuries, he lost the physical condition. Now he’s improving. In one or two matches he’ll be back at the top.”
Brighton, who welcomed back Glenn Murray to the starting XI after a shoulder injury, barely threatened in the first hour.
But they improved following Murray’s substitution for Romanian striker Florin Andone and pulled a goal back in the 66th minute.
Bernardo headed a cross back across goal and Solly March was unopposed as he hooked his shot past Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Seagulls fans felt Marcos Alonso should have been sent off as last man after fouling March late on, but the Spaniard was only shown a yellow card.
Chelsea withstood the hosts’ late attacks to record their first win in three away matches and stay in fourth in the Premier League, two points behind Tottenham.
Brighton remain in 13th place.