Guus Hiddink welcomes back three players in to his matchday squad for a fixture he knows will test his team to the maximum.
The boss spoke at Cobham this afternoon ahead of the visit of Manchester City and first reported the latest news on the injury front, with a number of players having been absent in recent weeks.
Hiddink said Gary Cahill and Nemanja Matic are fit again but he won’t be able to call on John Terry and Eden Hazard tomorrow. The Belgian has been involved in a number of training sessions at Cobham this week but won’t be ready in time to play. Kenedy meanwhile has had a slight knock but is fit enough to be in the squad. French duo Loic Remy and Kurt Zouma remain out.
Another player who is available again is Diego Costa, back from a three-game ban.
‘Normally when a player is out for that long a period they have a tendency to take a break, but he didn’t,’ Hiddink said of our top scorer.
‘He has been working very hard, including individually when we were on the road. He was here at Cobham working on his own with the staff. He is very eager to play.’
While on paper the Blues may have little to play for as the season reaches its conclusion, Hiddink stressed once more that he is demanding his players to finish with a flourish, starting tomorrow.
‘It’s been strange because this club is used to being involved for some titles in the last weeks and months of the season, and after the defeats in the Champions League and the FA Cup there was a little bit of emptiness because there was no silverware to go for.
‘When it’s not happening you feel it for a few days, but then you have to regather and refocus yourself and the team as well.
‘What I have asked from them is to go in to tomorrow’s match and the rest of the matches with ambition and desire to get a good run going in the last games.
‘I would like to finish my spell now at Chelsea in the last games with the players showing their quality – from the mental side of things as well.’
Our visitors tomorrow come to the Bridge on a high having knocked PSG out of the Champions League this week. They have won their last two in the league as well with securing fourth spot in mind, and Hiddink assessed the test that awaits his side at the Bridge.
‘City tomorrow have had a beautiful week after getting in to the semi-finals. It’s good for them to be in the last four and it’s a reward for their efforts over the last seasons.
‘Their team is getting into a certain flow of success and results so they’ll like to continue it. It’s encouraging for them and for us it is another reason why we expect very strong opposition.’