Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s vital Champions League clash with PSG on Wednesday, interim boss Guus Hiddink believes the Blues are the underdogs, despite having home advantage and an away goal.
Hiddink told Chelsea’s Official website ‘We started without any “wrestling” in the first 15 or 20 minutes – we were sloppy technically, even some players who normally are not, so I think there was a lack of concentration in the first part of the game. Then we tried to get our players angry so they would react and it resulted in a good goal from Traore.
‘In the first half we had to get angry at our own players – we tried to wind them up so they feel when they are making the errors. Some players needed a wake-up call.
‘We will need to be angry from the start on Wednesday, but in a controlled way. The players must be fully concentrated because we are playing a class team and they will punish you if you start sloppy.
‘In those big games, you cannot guarantee that players won’t make errors, but regarding the concentration level and the attention level, that’s automatic – I don’t have any fear of that. As a manager, you have more worries – with all respect for the opponent – when you are playing a team lower in the league. I am not talking about Stoke because they are above us, but when you have to play in the FA Cup early rounds, for instance, you have to wake up the team.’
‘We are underdogs, also with the season Chelsea is experiencing, especially in the first half. Now the players have regained confidence, but we are not the favourites. You see the PSG team – we also have quality – but they can rest five, six, seven players [at the weekend]. We will be a very tough underdog.’
The Dutchman then went on to speak about Diego Costa and his reasoning for not including the forward in the squad against Stoke.
‘He had a little bit of a problem with a tendon. He could have started, to be honest, but then the risk was there and afterwards I might be left saying, “Why did I risk him?”’
Chelsea play PSG live on BT Sport Europe on Wednesday at 19:45.