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Huge tradition

Guus Hiddink knows all about the FA Cup and ahead of the start of our involvement in that competition on Sunday the manager gave team news and commented on an incident in training yesterday.

Hiddink provided an injury update on three players at his press conference at Cobham to preview Sunday's FA Cup tie against Scunthorpe United, opposition he says he and his players are fully prepared for. He also said Diego Costa and Oscar were laughing and joking within minutes of a bad tackle by the latter in training.

'Remy is on the pitch but not with the team, he is in rehab,' Hiddink confirmed after ruling Falcao and Hazard out.

'We have to be very cautious about our strikers. That's Diego at the moment. Not having Remy or Falcao is worrying.

'Hazard will not make midweek [v West Brom]. We must be careful because a player must not fall again after twice being injured in a physical trap. This time we must take a little bit more time.

'He was fit to play but he got an unfortunate slip in the Crystal Palace game. We must be careful to maybe [bring him back] one game or half a game later than one or half a game too early.'

Yesterday afternoon some media outlets reported a training-ground confrontation between Oscar and Diego Costa had occurred, and Hiddink was asked for his perspective of the incident. He said it was a pity there were no photographs of it.

'There would have been some beautiful pictures of the two bulls who were chesting a bit after a challenge from behind from the smallest bull - Oscar.

'His challenge from behind was overdone, especially when you know Oscar who is not the biggest tackler in the team. They stumbled over, stood up and chested a bit without any further seriousness.

'It was the threat of two bulls. We came in between but there was no need to grab them to avoid them hitting [each other]. It was an intense and sharp training session and these things happen.

'After that Oscar apologised in front of the group for his overreacting and they looked at each other and started laughing,' concluded Hiddink. 'Jokes were made after. It’s solved.'

Focusing on this weekend's match action, the manager looked ahead to the visit of third-tier Scunthorpe in the FA Cup, a competition he holds close to his heart.

'It means a lot,' responded Hiddink when queried about the cup he helped us lift in 2009. 'At the time it was the only silverware we won, and the only one I won in this country.

'Besides that if you see the impact of the FA Cup not just in England but worldwide it’s a huge tradition. I remember when I was a young man specifically watching FA Cup games on a Saturday afternoon.

'When I started we said we have to have some aims - with a big club you have to set some targets. Fourth place in the Premier League is difficult, but then there are two targets left of which one is the FA Cup. It is a big target for this group of players together.

'We take all our opponents very seriously. My team and myself have watched part of their games,' said Hiddink of Scunthorpe.

'It’s their game here and they are dreaming of getting a good result. They have players like the striker [Paddy] Madden who already has 14 goals, so we are very well aware who is playing and who can cause danger so we take this opponent very seriously.'

And did Hiddink see our exit in the competition last season, against another League One side, Bradford?

'I didn’t see it but I know we must not stumble again.'

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