London - Diego Costa will face a late test to prove his
fitness ahead of Chelsea's meeting with Newcastle United this weekend after the
forward broke his nose in training.
The Spain striker clashed heads with Fikayo Tomori, one of Chelsea's
under-21 players who had been invited to train with the first team.
Costa, who has scored seven goals in his last nine games,
will be fitted with a protective mask and Chelsea interim manager Guss Hiddink
admitted he would not be able to confirm the player's availability until he has
successfully come through a training session.
"Diego got in a duel and had his nose broken,"
said Hiddink. "It was one of the youngsters of the academy who we like to
join in with us.
"It was not a tough duel, but he put his nose on the
back of the kid's head. He was very unlucky and his nose was broken. He will
"It was just a small incident, just a duel. But it's
very fragile when you hit your nose on the back of the head of a firm young
"I think he will be available. We'll see how he reacts
this afternoon in a very light session, but I hope - I'm not sure - that he
will be available."
- 'A Zorro team' -
Costa's team-mates Cesar Azpilicueta is also currently
wearing a protective mask while Nemanja Matic has only recently stopped wearing
facial protection. "We are a team with a lot of masks," said Hiddink.
"A Zorro team."
Kurt Zouma underwent surgery in Barcelona this week after
damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in last weekend's 1-0 draw with
The French centre-back is expected to be out for at least
six months and will miss the Euro 2016 finals in his home country, but Hiddink
insists the player remains in good spirits.
Also read: Cut Costa some slack, says Chelsea boss Hiddink
He said: "It was curious for me. I called him a few
hours before the operation in Barcelona and tried to encourage him.
"But, surprisingly, his mood was as if nothing had
happened. He was very confident. The operation went well. It was severe, it was
"The ligament... he's out for months. So it's a
sporting tragedy for him, just in a period where I think he was improving in
all aspects of his game.
"Not being able to play in the Champions League in
France, and not to be a contender for the Euros... that's tough."
Zouma's injury combined with the continuing uncertainty
surrounding John Terry's future at the club has focused attention on the
limited central defensive options available to Hiddink.
The manager confirmed Matt Miazga, recently signed from New
York Red Bulls and youngster Jake Clarke-Salter will join the first team squad
but insisted he has sufficient cover.
"He (Miazga) moves up, and also I have a kid from the
academy (Jake Clarke-Salter) who is now with us," said Hiddink. He is
coming up from the academy, but also Matt who has been with us a few weeks
"In the first-team squad of 15 or 16 players, we can
also make variations with (Branislav) Ivanovic, Baba (Rahman), Azpilicueta...
we have some options to choose."
Hiddink confirmed he does not expect Loic Remy to leave the
club despite being linked with a move to China.
He said: "I think this squad we have now will stay
until the end of the season. We have to be very careful. We'd love to have
double positions, and you never know what might happen, but I don't see any
But the interim manager does not expect Alexandre Pato,
signed on loan last month, to be available for at least another week.
Hiddink said: "He's at the end of the second week of
his pre-season and he's doing well.
"Both him and Matt Miazga are training with us and
doing an extra programme, made with a focus around next weekend. We'll see how
his fitness is then. He's progressing."For
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