As soon as José Mourinho was sacked a few weeks back, most Chelsea fans were disenchanted with the club hierarchy. We have previously mentioned how we might have been pushed back by a couple of years in our evolvement as compared to other clubs. However, the only silver lining amidst all these dark clouds was the appointment of a tried and tested man in Guus Hiddink. It is an interim post that the Dutchman holds, mind you. As such it is imperative that Michael Emenalo and co. have set him some short term goals. Two of them have got to be these:
- Bring the club into the top half of the table at the very least.
- Give a shot to winning the FA Cup.
- Try to go as deep as possible in the UEFA Champions League.
Now there is no proof as to these are the exact requirements of Hiddink’s employment terms, it is sensible that these are present in some form. Given where the club stands and how poorly the players performed in the first half of 2015-16, it is a completely acceptable set of guidelines. Being away from relegation matters is of utmost importance while a silverware would do a world of good to the fans and player morale in general. The FA cup is the only realistic redemption, the Champions League as always is going to be a lottery.
“He is going to be given a chance with the first team. There’s a swell of support for Patrick at Chelsea. Don’t be surprised to see him on the bench.”
– apparently a club insider regarding Patrick Bamford
In all this chaos, some people hope that lads like Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy, Bertrand Traore and more recently, Patrick Bamford are going to get fast-tracked into the first team. All these players will perhaps get a sniff of first team football. However, to expect Hiddink will make them mainstays of the team in the five months that remain is a hopeful thought at best. You see, Hiddink doesn’t have the time to do it. He has got a set of goals and those are preventive hindrances to any youth integration. We know he’d want to win every game from here on in and there is no Capital One Cup to give youth a good 90 minutes on the pitch.
Hands full with the task of grabbing points home and away, manoeuvring against PSG in the Champions League and taking no chances in the FA Cup equates to one thing: field a similar team to the one that beat Crystal Palace 3-0. He can have Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy, Traore, Bamford, et al. at the bench alternatively but they would only get to start once in a blue moon. Simply for the fact that Hiddink will not be willing to take a chance when he knows he can call upon the likes of Mikel, Ramires, etc.
For Loftus-Cheek, there’s Ramires and Mikel. He could be as good as Ruben Neves, but we are not going to know it under Hiddink. In Kenedy’s position, there’s Pedro. No manager in Hiddink’s situation is going to take a gamble on Kenedy for (injured) Hazard’s place when they have Pedro, a serial Champions League winner who is very good indeed. As for Bamford, he too may make the bench and come on in some games as a substitute. But reports say Remy is going to stay put and that means one thing: Bamford may be there in place of Falcao but he may not get any special treatments. Even if it was Guardiola himself, he would prefer getting as high a league position as possible, trying to win each game in each competition. No exceptions. No blooding youngsters in the bloodiest of battles. Shit has never been so red at the Bridge anyway.
Further, there are all sorts of rumours about Isco, Alex Teixeira, and every player worth mentioning. The club would naturally look to the market to bring (at least) one established player that proves a lift to everyone or increases competition, thereby bringing the best out of the squad. This further obscures the chances of first team involvement for the very many talented youngsters in our ranks.
In short, the journey is long and the path is tough. Any manager would choose the safe way out. It is the reasonable, sensible and logical thing to do anyway you muse on it. So please do not hope for youngster integration, just pray for May to come fast.