Guus Hiddink was asked about a number of issues at his news conference on the eve of Chelsea’s game against Watford. Here’s a rundown of what the Blues boss had to say.
On Alexandre Pato’s fitness
“Yesterday [Monday] he had to do this bureaucratic stuff which we have to accept. He was out of the country and to come into the country there’s paperwork [to be] done.
“He has worked for a few training sessions. He will be in of course this afternoon [Tuesday]. I don’t know if he is up to the game, we will decide later. He is in, let’s say, preparation, and not fully fit to act I think. The paperwork is done, and formally he is available. It’s another thing physically and mentally.
“He has hardly done any training sessions with the whole team. That’s why we have to be careful and prepare him very well as soon as possible because we have a tight schedule coming up.”
On Radamel Falcao
“Falcao is out. I like the guy and he’s desperate to get fit. It is as it was last week. Will he stay at the club? I can’t say at this moment.”
On John Terry’s contract
“First of all, I like him very much, the way he is playing and committed to the team. I have had some conversations with him in the past days about all kinds of things in football. It was said by John, and he is entitled, after his contract is ending at the end of the season, to make up his mind.
“On the other hand, there’s also the club, who wants to have dialogue and have an open door still. It [Terry’s comments] was a bit surprising. But he’s completely entitled to do so when his contract is expiring.
“There was no specific decision made yet, it’s early. You have to see that in [the context of] of what’s coming up, in terms of the transition of the management.
“The door is not shut. Dialogue is always possible. John’s statistics, and also the view we have on him, shows he’s very fit. He is not what you normally see in a 35-year-old player, where you feel that you get a little bit slower, that you’re getting into dangerous situations with red cards – none of that for John.
“He’s fit and he’s performing while I’m here. We also talked about this issue – regardless of the situation the club and he is in, he will be not just professional but play with all his heart as well.”
On Chelsea’s January transfer business
“There was not much to say because we didn’t want to do much. We did some small things where we thought we had two less players for one or two positions and the club responded.”
On the future of Loic Remy
“I don’t know if it was true the club wanted to sell him. You would have to ask the other people who are responsible for selling and buying. Remy has an injury on his calf for 10 days. When Remy is fit he is one of us again.”
On Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester City
“I think it’s not big news, I think people expected it already when he said ‘I’m leaving Bayern and I’d like to go to the Premier League’, which is a very attractive league for the younger managers.
“He will face a different league than he’s used to. You have always this kind of domination by the teams where he worked but this is a little bit different. In England there is no specific favourite, as there is always in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid and in Germany I think the only one who can be assured in September to be the new champion is Bayern. It’s different in England but for him it’s even more attractive.
“It’s a new experience knowing that every three or four days there will be huge games. But he’s very experienced and he has also the Spanish guys who are at Manchester City already many years who know this league. He’s not naive, I know him personally and he’s a very stable person.
“You can deduct a lot from when you see people playing. He was the conductor, the tactical leader of Barcelona at his time when he was playing. After that I met him once or twice on the pitch, because I was working there with a team which hired the training ground and he was with the second team.”
On Guardiola’s predecessor Manuel Pellegrini
“I admire his approach to the game and his team. A well-balanced manager and I respect him.”
On Willian’s fitness
“Willian yesterday did not go onto the pitch because he had a slight contusion in his foot. We will see how his reaction is after training.”
On managing in the Premier League
“I like the attitude generally of English football, with all the little incidents and whatever. But I think the love for the game in this country is huge, and that’s what makes it very attractive to managers to work in this league – with ups and downs.”
On the chances of finishing fourth
“I have not calculated because I go from one game to another game. And if we do as we are doing in the last couple of games then we will be okay. Coming into this league, wherever you go, it’s rather difficult to get a sequence of winning, winning, winning.
“They have a very dangerous team. They can score any moment, they have strikers who are very dangerous, they have a very well organised team around them.
“[Watford boss] Quique Sanchez Flores was my player [at Valencia], I know how he can construct a team and make it very solid and very difficult to beat.
“When you compare a bit with the past, my first experience [in England] was the cup game we had against Watford in 2009, which was rather an easy game for Chelsea on 60% of effort.
“Nowadays it’s impossible to think like that. It means it has grown a lot, and the gap between the top clubs and the lower clubs, if not vanished, has reduced.
On new signing Matt Miazga
“He is not in the squad yet because he is also in the preparation. We will make the list for tomorrow after the conclusion of today’s training.”