Sunday 25 June 2017

Fans' wishes the spur for Hiddink

Bournemouth 1 Chelsea 4

Bournemouth's Marc Pugh in action against Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters
Bournemouth's Marc Pugh in action against Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters
Chelsea's Pedro (left) and AFC Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Photo: Steve Paston/PA
Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game with team-mate Chelsea's Nemanja Matic during the Barclays Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Photo: Steve Paston/PA
Chelsea's Diego Costa in action against Bournemouth's Steve Cook during their Barclays Premier League clash. Photo: Peter Nicholls/Reuters
Bournemouth's Marc Pugh is challenged by Chelsea's Nemanja Matic during their Barclays Premier League match. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters

Nick Purewal

Guus Hiddink has assured Chelsea fans the Blues will do everything in their power to beat Premier League title-chasers Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

"We better beat f****** Tottenham", the Chelsea fans sang as Hiddink's side overwhelmed Bournemouth at Dean Court. Chelsea will surrender their league title to either Tottenham or Leicester in the coming weeks, and the club's supporters are desperate for rivals Spurs not to claim the crown.

Cesc Fabregas conjured two goals for fit-again Eden Hazard and laid on strikes for Pedro and Willian too, in what was a virtuoso display - Tommy Elphick's header was a consolation for the Cherries - leaving interim boss Hiddink mightily impressed and pledging Chelsea will not let their fans down against Spurs.

"I didn't hear what the fans were singing because I was so focused on the game," said Hiddink, with Chelsea hosting Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Monday, May 2. "But we play the next game to win. And the next game is Tottenham. At the end, the strongest team will win the league. And the strongest team is who deserves the league as well. Of course, we desperately wanted to win this game here today.

"We've got nothing at stake really, and we talked about that in the week. But we don't want the season to fade away. And the players responded very well."

Fabregas' stellar performance masked Chelsea's defensive frailties caused by Gary Cahill's illness. With John Terry still battling Achilles trouble and Kurt Zouma out for the long term with knee problems, Hiddink chose to deploy midfielder John Obi Mikel at centre-back instead of recognised defender Matthew Miazga.

Mikel and Branislav Ivanovic were shaky in the extreme in a first half as Bournemouth wasted a hatful of chances, but Hiddink preferred to focus on Fabregas' match-winning showing and Hazard's return from hip and groin trouble.

Bournemouth missed the chance to secure safety, but the Cherries are surely already out of the dogfight with 41 points. Boss Eddie Howe admitted his players are still learning "harsh lessons" about top-flight life.

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