‘Eager’ Pato is fit to play but Hiddink backs Traore

Pato has yet to feature for Chelsea

Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink says Alexandre Pato is now fit to play a bit-part role – but he has again suggested the Brazilian is down the pecking order.

Pato joined on loan on January, but was a long way off fitness and is yet to make his debut.

Hiddink said he “will see” if Pato is ready to be on the bench against Norwich on Tuesday.

But the Dutchman recently suggested that Bertrand Traore’s performances mean the youngster is ahead of Pato in the running for a first-team place, and Hiddink has reiterated that the former AC Milan player might be kept waiting.

“He [Pato] is not ready for 90 minutes but he is able to play part of the game,” Hiddink explained.

“He is eager of course, and we have now healthy competition going on between the strikers in a very good atmosphere with Diego Costa as the number one. But the other ones have stepped up.”

Traore scored his third Chelsea goal in the recent FA Cup win against Manchester City
Traore scored his third Chelsea goal in the recent FA Cup win against Manchester City

Hiddink added: “Especially I am happy with the progress of Bertrand Traore.

“Although he is a young guy and the others might have more status, I am not just looking at that but I am looking at the young guys who are making progress.

“He and Loic Remy are also in the position to compete. But once more I underline that we consider also the chances for the young guys.

“At the moment to be fair to everyone they are a bit ahead in this moment. I like fair competition.”

Meanwhile, Radamel Falcao is also not far off from returning to contention.

“Falcao is now touching the grass,” Hiddink said. “He is in treatment but also on the pitch but not with the group. He is individually training.”