Chelsea demolished lower league MK Dons in an impressive team performance which has drawn plaudits from all over including their own manager, Guus Hiddink.
‘We have to take into consideration we played against a team, with all due respect, from a lower league, but we can be happy with the performance,’ said Hiddink. ‘In the first 20 minutes we showed the ambition to try to finish it off early, but the only thing we forgot was how to score. They got an equaliser but the reaction of the team was good.
‘Was it the best performance? I don’t know. We played Arsenal last week and that was a different game but I liked the commitment of the team. Normally the concentration might drop down after you score.’
Hiddink also congratulated Hazard on his return to the scoresheet
‘It was okay for him because he’s had a difficult time with injuries. We have a hierarchy of penalty takers, with Oscar first, but they gave it to him and it’s good he scored. He’s coming back now after a long absence and he needs the rhythm of these games. He played more than an hour and it’s important for the upcoming multitude of games.’
As Chelsea have been unbeaten since Hiddink’s arrival, the statements he has been making about Chelsea players responding well are being well received by the fans after initial reluctance.
‘The players have responded very well to the way we’re working. It’s important we got some results; at the beginning there were draws but the standard of the club needs more than draws. We had to find some security, which we did, and from then on we like to go on an array of victories, which isn’t standard in this difficult league.
‘Of course there is quality but there is also a will to do the disciplined tactical work we demand as a team, not just the players who are natural defenders but also the ones who are naturally more creative, and that’s benefiting the team.’
With Costa in red-hot form, Chelsea might be forgiven to just pass the ball to him and watch it reside in the net but Oscar tonight gave a lie to that and showed that Chelsea do possess attacking threats except the burly Spaniard.
‘We must not depend on the production and delivery of just Diego Costa. The others have to produce as well, which they can, we emphasise that in training by doing exercises where they have to penetrate. We don’t just want to be depending on Diego Costa.
‘He (Oscar) is important. For these positions we have four or five players, we have to think clearly when to use them in the multitude of games. He’s also very aware of his responsibility defensively, he likes to recover (possession) as soon as possible to go on playing.’
A hot topic was Pato who has been over the cloud since joining Chelsea. Hiddink was happy to provide an update.
‘He trained once with us, a very light practice, but I want him to integrate as much as possible, as with Miazga. They worked today on their physical condition and we’ll try to build the two of them up as soon as possible. They were here, they practiced at Cobham this morning and then came here by car.’
The interim manager then proceeded to address on the Bamford loan and termed the Manchester City tie that awaits Chelsea in the fifth round a “cup final”.
‘I’ve seen him in training and practical games, some exercises we did recently. He’s a typical striker who needs to play a lot. If he’d stayed at Chelsea it’s not good for him, he must play and have competition. There are still a few hours to go, but I don’t think so.’