There was positive news regarding player availability ahead of tomorrow’s game against West Bromwich Albion, with Guus Hiddink reporting both Diego Costa and Loic Remy are part of the matchday squad.
Conducting his pre-match press conference at Cobham, Hiddink also ruled one player out of the first of two consecutive home matches in the Premier League, and spoke about the importance of building on our recent form.
However, the first question of the press conference centred on which players Hiddink would have to choose from against the Baggies, and he provided good news on Diego Costa, who picked up a knock during Sunday’s FA Cup win over Scunthorpe United.
‘Costa is okay,’ said Hiddink. ‘The day after the game he was eager to go out on to the pitch, so I was amazed, but he was recovering very actively so he is okay.’
When pressed further on whether Diego Costa, who has scored four goals in his last three appearances, will start the game, Hiddink offered a simple response, saying: ‘I think so.’
Remy meanwhile last featured for the Blues in our 3-1 win over Sunderland a week before Christmas.
An unused substitute against Watford on Boxing Day, the Frenchman has been out injured since but could play some part tomorrow, according to Hiddink.
‘Remy is joining the group,’ said the Blues boss. ‘He’d been training individually but in the last two days he practiced with us.’
One player who definitely won’t be involved against West Brom, as the Blues look to extend our unbeaten run to six matches, is Eden Hazard.
The winger limped out of our win over Crystal Palace early on and missed the game against Scunthorpe, but while Hiddink ruled him out for tomorrow, he explained the 25-year-old is making progress.
‘Hazard was on the pitch today with the physios and trainers, he’s doing better and better but is still not available,’ he said.
‘He’s not been with the group. We want to have him fit. It’s better a little late than one hour too early.’
The creative Belgian has struggled to reproduce his stunning form of last season during the current campaign, but Hiddink is confident he can get back to his best once fit.
‘For me it’s about freshness,’ Hiddink said. ‘If the mind is fresh and players are eager to step on to the training ground and enjoy training, it’s a signal of freshness.
‘He won all these trophies but this season it’s been mostly physical problems. He has to enjoy it and get rid of his physical problems, automatically he will then come into his normal shape of play.
‘It’s an individual approach; one needs a lash, another needs an arm (around the shoulder), another needs to be pinched a bit. It’s different but we’ve given him the time to come back.’