Guus Hiddink has backed incoming manager Antonio Conte as ‘equipped’ to handle the pressure as he prepares a young side for their trip to Swansea this Saturday.
It was confirmed this week that Conte will become Chelsea manager this summer, taking over from Hiddink.
The 46-year-old Italy and former Juventus boss will face a tough job rebuilding a Chelsea side that is on the brink of no European football next season.
Hiddink said: “It’s always a big job, regardless of the circumstances Chelsea has been in this year.
“He is equipped and he is able and he’s used to the pressure at big clubs to win titles.”
Conte was presented to the team briefly on Monday and with big name injuries it will be a chance for the younger players to show what they can do before the Italian comes in.
With first team regulars, John Terry, Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic and Loic Remy all injured and Diego Costa still under suspension, the Dutchman will have some tough choices to make.
This could make way for Alexandre Pato to make his first start in a Blues shirt, while Falcao and Bertrand Traore will also available for selection.
“Traore wasn’t strongly knocking on the door at that time, and now we have strikers who must compete for the position. Who will start tomorrow? You will see tomorrow,” said Hiddink.
The teams drew 2-2 on the opening day of the season but youngsters such as Matt Miazga and Baba Rahman will be eager to continue after their 4-0 victory at Villa Park last weekend.
Pedro looks set to start after scoring twice in a man of the match performance against despondent Aston Villa last weekend.
The Blues have the best away record in the league this calendar year and will be aiming to keep this up with their trip to the welsh coast.
With the chance that the European qualification places could be stretched to seventh, Chelsea will still feel like they have something to play as the season comes to a climax.
For Swansea City, 15th in the table, safety is within their grasp — with a win here taking them to the 40 points many deem necessary for safety.
Swansea boss Francesco Guidolon said:”[The gap] is not 10 points because the other teams have games [in hand] to play.
“Maybe we need one more win, maybe one more point, maybe three wins, maybe 40 points. We don’t know, we just know 37 is not enough.
“My opinion is that I can only think match by match and I hope to have the possibility to make many points to finish the season well – that is my dream.”
The Swans have never beaten Chelsea in the Premier League era and were on the end of a 5-0 thrashing in this fixture last year.
Image courtesy of Chelsea FC via YouTube, with thanks