Interim boss Guus Hiddink has admitted he will use the final eight games of the Premier League season to “experiment” because there’s “not much to win for Chelsea anymore”.
WithDiego Costa suspended, Eden Hazard (groin/hip) injured and Oscar, Willian and Bertrand Traore only rejoining Chelsea on Friday following international duty, Alexandre Pato could make his long-awaited debut in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Villa Park.
“We now have eight games coming up, and there’s not much to win for Chelsea anymore. There might be some time for experiments,” Hiddink said.
The Dutchman refused to be drawn on the prospect of John Terry making an unlikely England return in time for this summer’s European Championship.
The 35-year-old Chelsea captain recently spoke to England boss Roy Hodgson, who on Tuesday night admitted to a lack of defensive options following the friendly loss to Holland and ahead of Euro 2016.
Terry won 78 caps before retiring from England duty in September 2012, accusing the Football Association of making his position within the international set-up “untenable” following its pursuit of a racism charge against him.
“I think it’s a bit over-valued,” Hiddink said.
“Whether they had a conversation, yes or no… but there was no issue for either of them.
“We didn’t talk about that (an England return). What I know (is) he likes to play football.
“John is doing his job for Chelsea and decided already one or two or three years ago not to be available anymore for England.”
Terry could be playing his football elsewhere next season. He is out of contract at Stamford Bridge this summer and in January said he would be leaving, with no deal on the table. Chelsea said a contract offer could be forthcoming.
Hiddink, who will leave in May after his second caretaker spell at Chelsea, swerved the contract question, but advised Terry to go elsewhere and gain experience as an assistant coach if he has managerial ambitions.
Asked if Terry could be a future Chelsea manager, Hiddink said: “Not in one or two years, but of course (yes), if he gets the experience. Most of the time it’s good to go and go and be an assistant first, getting the experience from the other side.”