Guus Hiddink has called for Diego Costa's style of play to be accepted when he does not go "over the edge," and confirmed that while Alexandre Pato will stay at Stamford Bridge for the rest of the season there's no guarantee he'll get on the pitch.
Guus says it has to be accepted that Diego Costa has to play the way he does, but without going over the edge. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 18, 2016
He is happy with Costa's contribution, according to ESPN FC's Liam Twomey:
Hiddink on Costa: "I talked to him many times about playing on the edge & his reactions. We’re happy with his performances." #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) March 18, 2016
Per Dimitri Kondonis of getwestlondon.co.uk, Hiddink also defended the Spain international at the suggestion he is an "idiot": "Too strong. If you know the definition of an idiot, that is not him. It’s not always if you are in the very hectic situation, it’s difficult. Yeah, that’s why I defend him—his contribution is brilliant. I judge him fairly."
Hiddink spoke of Costa's red card at Everton and subsequent misconduct charge from the FA, adding the striker is "frustrated" by his suspension:
Of course he was not happy. He will see if he gets the other game as well.
I think he was not happy with it, of course, and will it go to a third game? Yes or no. He desperately wants to play of course, he accepts he is suspended but is not happy with it.
The kiss, or bite, whatever you mention it, [Gareth] Barry made a very good statement by saying what has happened or not happened in this case.
Maybe there was a little bit searching for Costa—where can we get him? He is frustrated.
Per Twomey, the 69-year-old added:
Hiddink asked if he's watched 'Anger Management' with Costa yet: "No. It will have to be subtitled for me!" #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) March 18, 2016
When asked about January loan signing Pato, who is yet to play a single minute for the Blues, he said:
Hiddink on Pato: "When he came on loan the only striker we had was Costa. Now everyone is fitter & there is the law of competition" #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) March 18, 2016
More Hiddink on Pato reports: "At this moment he will stay at Chelsea until the end of the season." #cfc— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) March 18, 2016
He was also asked about Antonio Conte with Kondonis noting there has been speculation linking the Italy manager with the Chelsea job this summer. Per Twomey, he replied:
Hiddink on Conte: "I have read it as well so that's the only thing I can say. If there's more you must expect an announcement from the club"— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) March 18, 2016
Per Chelsea, he also gave the latest on Eden Hazard's fitness and took the time to praise Hammers boss Slaven Bilic:
Guus says Eden Hazard is out of the weekend game. Suspended Diego Costa has a problem with a tendon in a hip muscle. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 18, 2016
Guus says West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is a very stable manager and is very driven. He says there is mutual respect. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 18, 2016
The Irons are nine points ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League and sit just two points behind fourth-placed Manchester City. Per Kondonis, Hiddink is anticipating a difficult game at Stamford Bridge:
They are very tough. They have skilful players. They are a nice team to watch, an adventurous team. I expect a tough game, they are in fifth position and maybe not just dreaming of fourth position. This is a team showing very good character, but not just that, they can play. They have players who can score in any position.
Chelsea remain unbeaten under Hiddink in the Premier League in his second spell in charge, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see them grind out at least a point, but without Costa there are serious question marks over their ability to trouble West Ham at the back.