Guus Hiddink knows Chelsea need to clear a tough hurdle against Manchester City in the fifth round on Sunday if they are to repeat his FA Cup success of 2009.
The Blues host City at Stamford Bridge knowing the cup is their most realistic hope of winning a trophy this season with the Premier League out of reach and a 2-1 first leg defeat to Paris St-Germain in the Champions League last 16 stage on Tuesday.
While City boss Manuel Pellegrini has said he could rest players with one eye on Wednesday’s Champions League tie at Dynamo Kiev, Hiddink still expects a difficult ride.
He said: “Hypothetically, they play one, two, three youngsters. But I bet they go for 120% of effort.”
Chelsea, who were knocked out of the competition by City in 2013 and 2014, will be fielding a full-strength side though with Hiddink wanting to repeat the success of his last spell in charge when he also lifted the cup.
The Blues’ defeat on Tuesday was their first since Hiddink replaced Jose Mourinho in December, while City have struggled for form, losing in the Premier League to title rivals Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur.
Hiddink is wary though and said: ‘They have been a bit unlucky in the last games but a big club always reacts.”
The former Holland boss confirmed the absence of Chelsea captain John Terry for a second successive game meaning Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic will most likely continue their recent centre-back partnership.
Feature image courtesy of Chelsea FC, via Youtube, with thanks