Chelsea vs. Stoke City: Pre-match comments - Hiddink demands the team focus solely on Stoke

With nine weeks left in the season, we look at the boss had to say prior to this match against Stoke.

Chelsea vs. Stoke City: Pre-match comments - Hiddink demands the team focus solely on Stoke
Source: Reuters

Nine weeks left and Chelsea FC sit in tenth place in the league with 39 points and only 8 points away from the final European spot in the league.  If they want to achieve that goal, they would need victory against Stoke City at Stamford Bridge.

Team news

Chelsea captain John Terry is still recovering from a hamstring strain meaning he will miss this match against the Potters. Blues manager Guus Hiddink, however, confirmed Diego Costa would start against the Potters after previously suggesting the striker might be rested.  While Kenedy's groin problem will be assessed, despite scoring in the last match against Norwich City. Alexandre Pato could make his Chelsea debut, but it is likely to be on he bench, while FalcaoKurt Zouma, and Pedro are all still out.

Diego Costa scoring. Photo: Sky Sports
Diego Costa scoring. Photo: Sky Sports

Focused Dutchman

Hiddink says he is focused on this match and not the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie between Paris Saint-Germain at home just four days after the Stoke game. He stated that 'Of course we have the upcoming two games on our mind but – and it’s a big but - we take all Premier League games very seriously and we will have the same approach tomorrow.'  He said in his press conference.

Continuing, '...we will not allow us to make this a pre-game for Wednesday. This is not good for the team. We must stay in the dynamic of the last weeks.' He later stated that, ‘if you put your focus too far away, even if it’s just four or seven days, it’s not good.’'

He continued with the motivation of reaching Europe for next season, which many have thought was unthinkable after the worst start for a defending Premier League champion this season. Nevertheless, he stated that '''Others are knocking on the door, like West Ham are doing and that there are more candidates for fourth position than the teams who have lost recently.''