Guus Hiddink has charged Eden Hazard and Diego Costa to fire Chelsea past PSG in tonight’s Champions League round of 16, second round clash.
The Premier League champions host their French counterparts at Stamford Bridge in what is expected to be a tough encounter and PSG’s social media team upped the ante on the eve of the last-16 second leg at Stamford Bridge with a video montage of masked super heroes titled ‘Spot the fraud’, which also included Costa, who has been playing with a protective mask due to a broken nose.
PSG boss Laurent Blanc also warned his players not to be provoked by Costa, who has a reputation for riling opponents.
Costa is available after missing last Saturday’s draw with Stoke as a precaution over a minor tendon problem, and has scored 10 goals in 14 games under Hiddink, but has just one Champions League goal in two seasons and 14 games with the Blues.
“I’m very proud of him the way he’s playing and, going not over the edge, but he likes to fight in the real way of the game,” Hiddink said.
“That’s what we like. I protect him and support him when he’s doing what he has done in my period at Chelsea.
“In the Premier League he frequently is scoring now, since December, January. Let’s see and hope he can make it to the European level as well.
Hiddink, who is without captain John Terry due to a hamstring injury, also issued a robust defence of Hazard.
The Belgium playmaker, Chelsea’s leading performer in last season’s Premier League and Capital One Cup double, has been underwhelming this term.
Hazard on the eve of the first leg suggested a move to PSG would be too good an opportunity to turn down, stoking speculation he is angling for a switch this summer.
He was substituted in the 2-1 loss at Parc des Princes, but Hiddink attributed that to his return from a groin injury.
Hiddink added: “At that time when he was playing away in Paris he was in that period just coming back from a rather severe injury.”