Jose Mourinho's decision to bench Eden Hazard for Chelsea's 2-0 victory over Aston Villa was harsh, according to Tony Cascarino.
Chelsea ended a run of three games without a win after a goal from Diego Costa and an own goal by Alan Hutton secured three points against their struggling visitors.
But Cascarino, who played for both clubs during the 1990s, believes any one of a number of players could have been left out given Chelsea's stuttering start.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, the former Republic of Ireland striker argued that Hazard's game has been affected by his under-performing team-mates this season.
"Hazard is not performing like he did last year when he was voted PFA player of the year," he said. "He was sensational. I think he's found it hard this year because the team are not playing as well. I look at him and think 'Really? Substitute?'
"I think it's harsh. He's such a big influence at Chelsea. If you want to play a style and you need someone to make a difference, he's your guy. Hazard can make things happen."
Though Cascarino admitted Hazard has yet to reach the heights of last season, he was quick to point out that the Belgian is not the only one of the Stamford Bridge squad struggling for form.
"I don't think Hazard's done that much wrong," he said. "He's just not reached the levels, and you could say that for five or six Chelsea players.
"His forte is going forward and making things happen, and I still think his work rate is very, very high."
In spite of their victory without Hazard, Cascarino was less than impressed with Chelsea's performance and believes Mourinho has yet to find his best starting XI.
"They struggled against Villa for a while, and Villa gifted them a goal," he said. "Guzan's passing the ball, and it ends up with Willian robbing Lescott and they get a goal.
"They didn't play well. Chelsea are much better than we're seeing at the moment. Even with a victory on Saturday, there's a lot of questions that need to be answered.
"Mourinho still doesn't look like he's got his best 11. I'm seeing Hazard on the bench. That [his selection] was a no brainer at the beginning of the season, so he's still got to find the right 11."