With our trip to Crystal Palace in mind, Guus Hiddink provided an injury update and assessed the strengths of Sunday's opponents at his press conference to preview the game.
Hiddink was first asked by those media present for the latest team information after 180 minutes of action for his players in a particularly short space of time. He had mixed news to report.
'We had two tough games, the physical intensity was high in both games, but in principle we didn’t get big damage,' he said.
'Oscar was a bit hurt, Willian got some tackles, Eden too. It was intense but today they were recovering on the pitch which means they are okay.
'Cesc was in this morning. We played a full game with the Academy and he played the full game. He is over his temperature problems.
'Falcao I doubt [will be fit for Sunday]. He has the same injury as last week when we tested him. Loic Remy is also doubtful.
'Gary Cahill didn’t go on to the pitch this morning which means he has a little problem but we have several days to go in preparation for Sunday so I’m not negative regarding Cahill. He has an ankle injury. Some ligaments are a little bit tight.'
Hiddink was quick to quash recent transfer rumours linking Fabregas and Remy with a move away from Stamford Bridge, insisting he needs every player in the squad if we are to climb the table. Asked specifically about Fabregas’s mood at the moment, the boss reported the midfielder is coming in to Cobham every day with a smile on his face.
Focusing on the match itself and the bigger picture, Hiddink explained why he hopes our three-game unbeaten league run, our first of such length this season, can be extended when we visit Selhurst Park.
‘Crystal Palace are doing well. Alan Pardew has done a marvellous job in the period he has been working there.
‘If you look at the statistics you have a team that has scored 23 goals in 19 games and just conceded 16 which means he is well-organised with his team.
‘We have started gathering some points. It was the third consecutive game we didn’t lose but that’s not enough. We must come now in to a winning period of games, that’s important.
‘You see how it is, all the big teams are losing points as well. Nowadays it’s very difficult and if you see where our next opponent is in the table they are close to the Champions League positions. So it’s not that easy now to have a long-term winning sequence but we have to go there.’
Hiddink explained Patrick Bamford’s loan deal at Palace was a matter for the two clubs to discuss, while negotiations are ongoing with Montreal Impact too over a possible coaching role for Didier Drogba at Chelsea.
The conference ended with Hiddink queried about British managers and their capabilities. The reporter had Hiddink’s opposite number on Sunday, Pardew, in mind, but our experienced boss answered using an example from closer to home.
‘I have been working now for the last week and more with my staff, and I’m very happy with what Steve Holland and the staff bring,’ Hiddink stated.
‘I am very impressed with how well he manages and how well he co-operates, so that should be a signal for clubs to not be afraid and every now and then at least interview British managers as well. In my opinion even though they might not have big names they should be given opportunities to do bigger jobs than they normally do.’