‘They are a courageous team’: Chelsea boss expects tough match against West Ham without star striker

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink knows he has a tough game on his hands without suspended striker Diego Costa against an in-form West Ham United.

The Hammers have won three in a row in the Premier League and are chasing the top four, while Chelsea sit in tenth on 40 points.

With Costa suspended for two matches after being sent off in a bizarre clash with Gareth Barry against Everton last weekend, the Blues will be stretched.

“Of course he’s not happy and he will see if he gets another game [suspension] as well,” Hiddink said.

“We talked many times about him playing on the edge and his reactions.”

Hiddink knows  Costa is easily provoked and has told has told him to control himself.

“It’s a matter of temperament and character. If he reduces what he did more frequently in the past then we are progressing,” he said.

Although unbeaten in the league since taking over at Chelsea in December last year, Hiddink is fully aware of the threat his opponents pose.

The Blues boss said: “I expect a tough match because they are doing very well at home and away.

“They are a courageous team who are fast on the counter attack. They have skillful players, they are a nice team to watch.”

West Ham have not won at Stamford Bridge since 2002 but after enjoying a great season they are sitting five positions above Chelsea and can go into the match with confidence.

The Blues manager was particularly keen to recognise their manager Slaven Bilic for the work he’s done so far this season.

Hiddink said: “He’s a very stable, very consistent manager. We’ve had some encounters at international and club level.

“He’s a very driven coach; I’ve known him many years.”

Chelsea will be particularly wary of the Hammers talisman Dimitri Payet who continued his outstanding first season in English football with a stunning free-kick at Old Trafford last weekend.

Image courtesy of Chelsea TV via YouTube, with thanks

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