Hiddink to give Falcao chance to rediscover his old form
Published 22/12/2015 | 02:30
Guus Hiddink is hoping that he can coax Colombian striker Radamel Falcao back into something approaching his pre-January 2014 form as the Dutch coach now in charge of Chelsea tries to widen his selection options ahead of their St Stephen's Day game against Watford.
Hiddink came into the training ground on Sunday to check on the form and fitness of Falcao and speak to the player, while the rest of the squad had a day off following their Premier League win over Sunderland.
Falcao's loan move to Chelsea this season has so far not been a success, with only one league start and just one goal, and he had been overlooked in recent weeks despite having returned from injury.
The striker had a long-standing calf injury which initially ruled him out of action from the start of November. He last featured as a substitute in the defeat to Liverpool at the end of October.
Falcao has been watching home games at Stamford Bridge in the area used by non-playing squad members behind the dugouts .
His loan agreement could come up for review next month. In order to cancel it, Chelsea would have to reach an agreement with Falcao's parent club, Monaco. There have been suggestions that Barcelona might take him as cover.
His departure from Chelsea would free up a non-homegrown place among the Champions League squad.
Hiddink will take his first training session with the full Chelsea squad today. The interim coach decided that a two-day rest after the Sunderland game would be in the players' interests as they approach the difficult Christmas schedule.
The Dutchman has resisted making changes to the backroom staff who have stayed on beyond the sacking of Mourinho.
Steve Holland will continue as assistant manager and Eddie Newton, formerly part of Michael Emenalo's department monitoring loan players, will also stay on the bench.
There are still no moves in place to find a role for former striker and fans' favourite Didier Drogba, who is contracted to MLS franchise Montreal Impact.
Chelsea would not want Drogba to be picked up by another leading club in the same way that Patrick Vieira became associated with Manchester City, as opposed to Arsenal, after his retirement from playing.
However, for the moment, Chelsea's focus is on appointing the right manager in the summer, with the club confident they will be able to land a big-name coach even if they do not have Champions League football to offer him. (© Daily Telegraph, London)