That's all, folks
That’s all from us, as Guus Hiddink moves on to the written press.
But the Dutchman has left us with plenty to think about ahead of the clash with Everton on Saturday, here are the key points from the conference...
- Eden Hazard ruled out of Everton clash, might return for Arsenal
- Chelsea’s league position makes transfers difficult
- Progress is being made at Stamford Bridge, but fans must remain realistic
- Diego Costa is being wound up by players and is left unprotected by referees
- Everton will pose a ‘very clever’ challenge
- Radamel Falcao is looking for circumstances where he can play
Hiddink the builder!
Hiddink is a man of hidden talents.
It turns out he used to be a builder and has checked over the reported hole that Costa punched in the Stamford Bridge tunnel wall!
He said: “I was a builder before I started football management.
“There wasn’t too much damage on the tunnel wall, just a few scratches.”
Cue much laughter in the press room. That used to be banned under Jose, didn’t it?
Guus knows a thing or two about Roberto Martinez’s side.
Here are his thoughts on the Toffees...
“They like to play and build up the game from their back four, they do it in a very clever way. Their midfield is experienced, they have the danger of their wide players going inside.
“They have the strikers who are very penetrating always into the danger area.
“It’s a team who can play football, and is very dangerous. It will be very difficult.”
Cesc Fabregas pleases the boss
Fabregas has taken a bit of stick from Chelsea fans this season.
But Guus has been pleased with what he’s seen so far.
Hiddink: “I am happy with the performance of Cesc.
“He is fit, he is fresh. He can play in different midfield positions.
“But i also like to see him in a position where he can play with the quality of the final pass, he did it from several positions in midfield. “This team needs leaders in the vertical spine of the team. He is one of those key players now.”
Update on Pato and Hazard
Hiddink has read the papers and seen the reports.
Chelsea have been linked with Alexandre Pato and Real Madrid are keen on Eden Hazard.
But the Chelsea boss isn’t buying into the speculation.
He said: “No [we don’t want Pato]. No truth in it, we now have Diego, Remy and some youngsters who can fill up the gap, we are not in that at the moment.
“With Falcao, it is different. The reason they don’t take him back is injury-wise.
“All big clubs are looking to big players, but both Madrid clubs have protested and I am not sure if they can use this transfer window or the next one, or if it will be postponed, but I don’t expect much of this in this window.”
Costa defended by boss
The Blues boss has defended Diego Costa after he seemed to slip back into bad habits in midweek.
He said: “This referee did not want to send off anyone. Also to Diego the second yellow was not there. But they are playing on the edge, he is playing on the edge. But also the opponents - they are provoking as well. If you see the little things, it’s mutual.
“But nevertheless he should control. He didn’t go out of order but was on the edge.
“Players are smart. I talk about this with him, not every day but this morning. But the opponents like to provoke a bit, which is also normal in a mens game but he has to deal with that as well. The referee has to deal with that. I’ll defend my players, especially when they are very, very hot.”
Blues Still looking over their shoulders
“We all like to look forward, but don’t be unrealistic when you are six points above the relegation line, that is a fact. It was a setback in the 86th minute we got this draw against West Brom which would’ve helped us a lot in going up.
“Relegation is still a reality. When we started we were one point above the relegation line, and now we have a little bit more of a breathe.
“But we have two very difficult games coming up, who have a very good away record in the last ten games. Then Arsenal - two very difficult games. If you don’t gather those points, the Premier League can surprise you.”
Hiddink on Falcao
It looks increasingly unlikely Falcao will be starring for Chelsea any time soon.
Hiddink said: “Well for him, it’s important to play.
“He need to start playing. If you see his recent path, here and in Man U, it is difficult for a player, he must look for circumstances where he can play.”
Does that mean he’s playing elsewhere then, Guus?
Blues don't need to sell before buying
There were some reports in the papers that Chelsea would have to sell Loic Remy before bringing in a new striker.
Hiddink says that rumour is wide of the mark.
“No, we don’t have to sell players to bring in.
“I’m happy that Remy is now working a full week with high intensity, and if needed he can be on the pitch. That’s good. As long as this is happening, we are not very active in doing other things.”
“Chelsea has to deal with that realistic view (of uncertainty over league position). In the new setting there might be influence of the new staff, new manager, etc. That’s our question marks for Chelsea, and for those who might come in.”
Hazard still ruled out
The Chelsea boss begins by delivering some team news.
It’s still a no-go for Eden Hazard.
He said: “Not regarding the last game, there were no injuries.
“The only one not available yet is Eden Hazard, although he is on the pitch working. I hope that in the upcoming week he will have full training sessions, and then we will decide if he can join us for Arsenal next weekend.
“The rest is ok. Falcao is out, but we knew that.”
Hiddink is here!
Guus Hiddink has arrived for today’s press conference.
Updates from the Blues boss will follow here.
Chelsea take on Everton on Saturday and we’ll be looking ahead to that match, plus plenty more, with the Dutchman now.
Stay tuned for all the latest team news and gossip.
Is Pato the answer?
Brazilian club Corinthians are trying to persuade Chelsea that Alexandre Pato is the answer to their striker problems.
The troubled 26-year-old has no future at his club and has been left out of the squad that travelled to the USA for pre-season this week.
Chelsea are examining a number of options with Diego Costa currently their only fully fit striker.
They have an interest in Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann but are likely to wait until the summer to pursue him, and even then could be hampered by the Rojiblancos’ transfer ban.
Corinthians value Pato at £11million and the former AC Milan frontman has been offered to a number of clubs.
Baba has the Blues
Frustrated Baba Rahman has warned Chelsea he wants first-team football in the second half of the season.
The Blues paid £17million to sign the Ghana international from Augsburg in the summer but has made just four Premier League appearances so far.
Cesar Azpilicueta has remained first choice under Guus Hiddink after seeing off the threat from Filipe Luis for his place last season.
Given the size of the fee and his performances in Germany, Rahman expected to be afforded more minutes on the pitch at Stamford Bridge.
“Of course it is frustrating for any footballer to be forced to watch from the stands.
‘I do not want to experience that any longer.
“You have to get used to the Premier League and a big club like Chelsea first when you are a young player like I am, so the first half of the season was alright.
“But I definitely want more playing time in the second half of the season.”
Simeone steps closer to Chelsea
Chelsea moved a step closer to luring Diego Simeone to Stamford Bridge last night following the news of Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban.
Simeone is high on Roman Abramovich’s shortlist of contenders for the west London hotseat and will be pursued by the Blues owner in the summer.
Guus Hiddink stepped into the breach in the aftermath of Jose Mourinho’s sacking and initially made noises about turning his interim role into a permanent one.
However, the likeable Dutchman last week set a leave date of May 29, in the hope that he can bow out after reaching the Champions League final.
Pep Guardiola has signalled his intention to move to England but is widely expected to take the Manchester City job for next season.
Simeone is now the No 1 choice for the Blues and believe the Argentine will consider jumping ship after Atelti were banned from signing players for the next two windows by UEFA.
Evans plays down Costa antics
Diego Costa is, once again, under fire for his on-field conduct as he battled with the West Bromwich Albion defenders, referee Anthony Taylor and the wall in the Chelsea tunnel.
Costa was given some defence from West Brom defender Jonny Evans, who described these spats as just part of the game and believes fans like to see players show their passion.
“Football is an emotional game. They want to win as much as we do. I think when you’re on the pitch it’s just a bit of game play going on.
“There’s nothing really in it. I think it’s just a part of the game. When the game ends we shake hands and get on with it. Fans like to see players being passionate.
“I think you can see Costa is competitive. You don’t mind it as a defender as long as there’s no nastiness involved.
“I think things are blown out of proportion. It’s just lads competing and some lads need to do that for their own game and get themselves mentally up for it.
“Unless he’s had a running battle, he’ll shake hands at full time with the lads. It’s part and parcel of football.”
Courtois critical of Baggies
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois criticised West Brom’s approach in Wednesday night’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, claiming the Baggies tried to “provoke” the Blues.
West Brom twice came from behind to equalise, with James McClean’s late strike earning the visitors a point in a feisty contest where Diego Costa was one of the main protagonists.
There were six bookings in the game and Claudio Yacob was promptly substituted by West Brom boss Tony Pulis after avoiding a second yellow card for an off-the-ball trip on Costa. Courtois felt the change was telling.
“I think he (Yacob) should have been sent off,” Courtois said on chelseafc.com.
“Their manager took the player off one second after the foul so I think everybody knows that was clear.
“We’re very disappointed. It was a game we wanted to win. It was a tough game with them playing only long balls, (playing for) second balls, trying to provoke players.
“It was a bit frustrating. We tried to do our best, we came back, but sadly they got the second goal.”
Costa bares his teeth again
Hiddink admitted Diego Costa was sailing close to the wind after the striker’s latest hot-headed antics in Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with West Brom.
Costa showed more clout after the final whistle than he had in front of goal during the previous 90 minutes after punching the tunnel wall as he stormed off.
The snarling Spaniard squared up to Baggies keeper Boaz Myhill at full-time, having earlier been involved in an angry exchange of words with defender Jonas Olsson.
He also tried to get Claudio Yacob, who was already on a yellow card, sent off for tripping him over. Hiddink, though, felt he hadn’t quite gone too far.
“How close to the line was he? I think there was little space left.
“But no, they were challenging each other. The defenders, and that’s their right, were provoking him a little bit, but in a mutual way. Those clashes are normal. I didn’t see any bad things.
“A hole in the tunnel wall? We can repair that easily, it’s not a problem.
“He’s an emotional guy and I like that very much. If you have to push players it’s difficult to survive in the Premier League, but if you have to control them it’s much better.”
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our LIVE coverage of today’s Chelsea press conference.
Guus Hiddink will be speaking to the media at the club’s Cobham training ground at approximately 1.15pm this lunchtime ahead of Saturday’s visit of Everton.
The Blues were held 2-2 at home by West Brom on Wednesday night and need to start turning these draws into victories if they are to make the top four this season.
However, Hiddink will take heart from the fact that his side remain unbeaten since he took over the reins from Jose Mourinho just before Christmas.
Eden Hazard is expected to miss out again with a groin injury but we will have confirmed team news and all the transfer gossip directly from Hiddink when he arrives here shortly.
Stay tuned for updates as we build up to the arrival of the Dutchman.