Sport Soccer

Thursday 22 February 2018

John Terry missing against Stoke with focus on Paris St Germain tie

Chelsea captain John Terry is struggling with a hamstring injury
Chelsea captain John Terry is struggling with a hamstring injury

Chelsea captain John Terry is not ready to start against Stoke on Saturday and is struggling to prove his fitness for next week's crunch Champions League clash with Paris St Germain.

Terry has been out since injuring his hamstring against Newcastle three weeks ago and is a big miss for the Blues, who are bidding to close the gap on the Barclays Premier League top four and overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg against PSG in Paris.

Hiddink, however, said the 35-year-old is yet to train with the first-team group and will not be risked at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

"He is not fit enough to start," Hiddink said. "He is with the physio and also training. We will see how it goes for Wednesday. He hasn't trained with the group yet.

"Could he be on the bench against Stoke? I don't think so. With this kind of injury we have to have intense training before. It's too much of a risk.

"He has to prove his fitness before PSG. It depends on how he is in training, if it is possible, late on Monday. I will not take any risks with him."

Another player thought likely to sit out against Stoke was Diego Costa after Hiddink previously admitted the striker might need a rest ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

Costa, however, played 90 minutes in the win at Norwich on Tuesday night and also scored at Carrow Road, resuming a revival in form that has now seen him net 10 times in 14 matches.

"On Saturday he will start. Who am I to stop this man?" Hiddink said.

"It's difficult to put a break on him. Maybe during the game he will not have a full game because we monitor them with the data of the physiologists and I can make some conclusions.

"He is in perfect physical shape but we must be careful not to give him an overload in games. He is difficult to stop, he wants to play every game."

Chelsea's win at Norwich means they are now unbeaten in 12 league games since Hiddink's arrival and hopes of rescuing a place in the top four have been revived.

The Blues are now eight points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand, and Hiddink revealed what he said to the squad when he was first appointed.

"The players responded well when I came in," Hiddink said.

"I said to everyone, 'what was your contribution in the year of the championship and the last half year? Don't give me an answer by word but in training and in upcoming games'. I think they responded."

Hiddink, however, insists he is not in the running to take the Chelsea manager's job long-term.

"I will be now and then at Stamford Bridge and at Cobham as a tourist," Hiddink added.

"I am here for a short period, that's how we started. I think the club has to go into a new, transition is too big a word, but a new era.

"They have to go into a new era of Chelsea which is not just about short spells."

Chelsea have reportedly held talks with Italy coach Antonio Conte about taking charge next season but Hiddink believes the Blues will need to strengthen their squad to challenge again for the title.

"My personal opinion is where you play Premier League, FA Cup, Capital One Cup, the Europa League, you need a broader squad," Hiddink said.

"I'm a little bit - scared is not a good word - but that must not happen a lot with our players. We have 13, 14 outfield players and we cannot afford a lot of damage.

"But if you play in five competitions then you need to broaden your selection."

Pedro has begun individual training again after his hamstring injury but is not available this weekend while Kurt Zouma (knee) and Falcao (thigh) are also out.

Alexandre Pato is set to make his debut and full-back Kenedy could feature after coming off against Norwich with a groin strain.

Press Association

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