Crystal Palace vs Chelsea: Guus Hiddink attempts to take pressure off Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas has come under most scrutiny among Chelsea’s players, having failed to reproduce his dominant displays from the first half of last season

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The Independent Football

Guus Hiddink has urged his Chelsea players to do more to reduce the goalscoring burden on Diego Costa. 

Hiddink takes charge of his third match back at Chelsea on Sunday, away to Crystal Palace, after overseeing two draws. Chelsea are finding goals difficult to come by, and the interim manager revealed that he has been working on the team’s attacking positions in an effort to help them rediscover their scoring touch.

Costa is Chelsea’s top Premier League goalscorer this season, with five. No one else has more than two. Hiddink hopes that Costa’s team-mates will start to chip in more.

“Diego is focusing very much on his job, and that is a lot of responsibility,” Hiddink said. “He is brave and he likes to do that. It’s a lot of responsibility, but not just on Diego. He wants to perform and is keen to score, but the other attacking players must play a part in assists and goals. It’s not just him.”

Chelsea’s attacking play in the first half of this season collapsed under previous manager Jose Mourinho, with confidence draining from the players who won the title last year. Eden Hazard has not scored for Chelsea since May while Oscar and Cesc Fabregas have also struggled. Hiddink said he has been working hard on the training pitch to help them improve.

“There’s a lot of technical skill in the midfield and attacking positions. We have to see how they become even more productive, and take the next step,” Hiddink said. “We are trying to get them good occupation of the box, so they have more efficiency from their high quality. They have the quality. Now they have to be productive with assists or goals. Not just Diego.”

Hiddink added: “They are not 35 or 36, they can improve. Of course, they’ve had a setback after a tremendous season. That’s rather  normal.”

Fabregas has come under the most scrutiny, having been unable to reproduce his controlling midfield performances from the first half of last season. But Hiddink was keen to state that it is not just Fabregas who has struggled.

“I think we are now focusing too much on Cesc,” Hiddink said.” The whole team weren’t doing well until December. It’s not just one player. When you look at the goals conceded, it’s not just our defence that is not good enough. It’s not just the defensive players. It’s the whole team’s performance, defensively and offensively. I don’t want to focus on just one player who might need a bit more strength to get back into shape.”