Captain John Terry is out of Chelsea’s do-or-die Champions League encounter with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night.
Blues boss Guus Hiddink thinks his skipper has run out of time to recover from the hamstring injury to lead the assault on PSG’s 2-1 lead in the second leg at Stamford Bridge.
Hiddink was forced to change his plan to include recovering John Terry in a seven-a-side practice match to test his fitness at the weekend as his condition didn’t improve enough.
And for his next challenge the Dutch caretaker manager, who has now enjoyed a record 12 Premier League games unbeaten run since taking charge in December, will now have to guide Chelsea into the Champions League quarter-finals without the service of their heartbeat.
Hiddink admitted: “I don’t think John will make it on Wednesday. For the time being, there has not been enough development to put him on the list.
“It’s not worse – he trained and had treatment on Saturday morning, and he can run, but he cannot go into a longer stretch where you have to accelerate. There he has to be careful.
“When he is ready to do so, maybe on Tuesday, he will play in a practice match, but I don’t think he will make it. Hopefully, let’s see what can be done for next weekend.”
Missing the PSG clash means Terry’s next target will be the FA Cup quarter-final at Everton on Saturday, while Chelsea’s faint hopes of an extraordinary late charge into the top four finish all but ended with Mame Diouf’s 85th-minute equaliser for Stoke.
Against Stoke, with top scorer Diego Costa not risked due to a slight tendon strain, Bertrand Traore’s fourth goal in five matches had certainly pierced the silence.
Hiddink has made it clear Chelsea will need to display more passion against PSG who are 23 points clear in the French league. He also called on the home supporters to give more intimidating atmosphere than they showed during the 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday as they look to reach the Champions League last eight: “We had to get our own players angry, to wind them up, and some of them needed a wake-up call.
“I don’t have any fear about waking them up for big games – they will be there. We are underdogs, but let’s be very tough underdogs.”
Meanwhile, Brazilian ace Willian, one of the few Chelsea squad members who has been switched-on throughout the season, promised they would go with everything against PSG.
He said: “From the first minute, we have to show them what we want. We know they will want the ball and to keep possession, but we will have to keep them under pressure.
“We are more confident because we play at home. It will be difficult but we can qualify – I think we can do it.
“There is always pressure at Chelsea to win titles, we know that. But I hope we can give Guus at least one trophy before he leaves.”
Chelsea step into the PSG clash a goal down from the first leg, which Terry also missed. They have to score at home to go through but dare not concede an away goal, that is where Terry’s huge experience would have been an important one.