Swansea's Jack Cork expects Chelsea spending spree this summer
Published 10/04/2016 | 12:06
Swansea midfielder Jack Cork expects his old club Chelsea to spend heavily this summer and make it difficult for their talented youngsters to establish themselves at Stamford Bridge.
Cork helped Swansea to the 40-point mark and surely another season in the top flight by securing their first-ever Barclays Premier League victory over Chelsea on Saturday.
Gylfi Sigurdsson's first-half volley gave the Swans victory against visitors missing several regulars through injury and suspension, and Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink took the opportunity to include some fresh faces in his matchday squad.
England Under-21 international Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his second successive start, striker Bertrand Traore was a second-half substitute and midfielders Kasey Palmer and Charlie Colkett were both on the bench.
"They have invested heavily in the academy over the years and have got a lot of good talent in there," said Cork, who captained Chelsea's youth and reserve teams but never made a senior appearance for the club.
"They have won a lot of FA Youth cups so the quality is there, but there is a lot of pressure on them to win titles and win trophies.
"So it's nice to see a few of the young lads get an opportunity to prove themselves and I thought Loftus-Cheek was one of their better players.
"Maybe it isn't a good time for the club results-wise, but it's good that they are giving young players a chance and it hasn't been like that recently."
While the 1-0 defeat virtually extinguished Chelsea's final hope of qualifying for Europe next season, it has been yet another successful campaign for the club's youth team.
Chelsea have won the FA Youth Cup four times in six seasons and have another final date against Manchester City to look forward to.
But veteran skipper John Terry was the last academy product to become a first-team regular and Cork believes Antonio Conte, who takes over Chelsea after leading Italy at Euro 2016 this summer, will attempt to resurrect the champions by investing heavily in the transfer market.
"I do see them spending big in the summer because they have got a history of spending big, haven't they?" said Cork.
"With a new manager coming in the pressure will be on him to win games - and it might take a while to bring through some of the youngsters.
"It is a good academy and those players might not make it at Chelsea, but they go out on loan and because of that experience go to other clubs."
Chelsea's defeat was the first in the league since Hiddink returned for a second spell in December and ended a 15-game unbeaten run - the longest in the top flight this season.
But Hiddink said his decision to play some of Chelsea's youngsters and "risk defeat" was justified.
"It's not a personal objective (staying unbeaten), but at the same time if it's the objective then you win games, Chelsea win games, the team wins," said Hiddink.
"You can see now we have given some younger players opportunities to play.
"There is a risk you can lose more easily than when everyone is on board.
"I prefer to give chances to people playing less frequently and then having the risk of defeat."
Hiddink sprang a surprise by dropping regular goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to the bench and handing Asmir Begovic a first league start since November.
"The idea behind it was that Begovic is doing his job as a professional very well in training to keep himself in shape," said Hiddink.
"Every training session he is 100 per cent committed and on top of that he is helping out Courtois in a very good professional way, and that's why I rewarded him by having him play at least once."