Guus Hiddink to develop Chelsea youngsters
Guus Hiddink will put the development of Chelsea's young players above his own personal record as manager during the remainder of the season.
The champions, for some time now, have been unable to successfully defend their Barclays Premier League title and headed into Easter in the unusual position of contesting no silverware.
Perhaps with that in mind, Hiddink named an experimental side on Saturday against Aston Villa with Loftus-Cheek, who opened the scoring in the 4-0 victory, and Kenedy starting, as well as Loic Remy. Injuries to John Terry and Gary Cahill also saw 20-year-old American Matt Miazga make his full debut.
The Dutchman, who has lost only one of his 28 Premier League games in charge of Chelsea over his two spells as caretaker boss, would like to remain unbeaten in the league this season but vowed to use the remaining seven matches to give the likes of Loftus-Cheek valuable experience.
"I always like to bring in the youngsters and now for the rest of the season we have the opportunity to bring in more frequently those guys," said Hiddink.
" It is good to see guys like Loftus-Cheek and (Jake) Clarke-Salter coming in. Of course, we can not win anything any more which makes it a little easier, so on the other hand it would be interesting to see guys like Loftus-Cheek come in and play when there is something at stake, with the pressure.
"But then it is more difficult to bring in three or four who haven't had the experience.
"Of course it would be nice to by unbeaten, from December on, but it is rather personal, although not that important for me. When you have young kids there is more of a risk of failure as you give them that experience, so the risk of a defeat is higher as well.
"But I prefer that to saying I want my personal record to the end of the season, I prefer to give the youngster a chance."
Bottom-of-the-table Villa suffered a 22nd Premier League loss of the season and are now 15 points from safety and t heir inevitable relegation will be confirmed shortly.
Goals immediately either side of half-time from Alexandre Pato and Pedro killed off Villa, before Pedro completed the scoring with his second of the game just before the hour mark.
Caretaker boss Eric Black felt the timing of Chelsea's goals was typical of Villa's campaign.
"It's symptomatic of what's been happening all season," he said. "We started the game okay but once the goal goes in you can see visibly it puts a big dent in us. The first goal in the Premier League is massive and if you concede it then it makes the task that much harder.
"But to compound it, the penalty just before half-time and then the third goal straight after the restart makes it an enormous challenge."
Black, in charge after Remi Garde's departure this week, was asked about the possibility of taking some of Villa's players out of the firing line.
He added: "I know what you're saying but we don't really have enough players ready to come in.
"These are professional footballers who are paid to play professional football and you can't protect them.
"You can prepare them as much as you can physically, mentally, technically, tactically or whatever but once they go over the line they are paid to be professional footballers and that is the responsibility put on them and what they have to deal with."