Guus Hiddink says he has been ‘racking his head’ to work out how to get Eden Hazard back to his best for Chelsea.
Hazard was last season’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year but has failed to net in the Premier League this term and will miss out against Manchester City on Saturday as he continues to recover from injury.
And it is injuries that Hiddink blames for the Belgian’s “alarming”, “drastic fall” in form.
“I was racking my head also ‘what can I do to get him back on track?'” Hiddink said.
“He fell too much into injuries and had difficulties to come back and get out of that.”
Hiddink, meanwhile, has warned it will not be an easy task for Antonio Conte to deliver steer the Blues straight back into Premier League title contention next season.
“There are no guarantees whatsoever,” Hiddink said.
“The clubs will have more money to spend next year, which means the league will be even more competitive, which is very nice for everyone, except for those who have been used to being at the top for many years.
“We’re used to fighting for something and nothing is at stake at this moment.
“That’s strange. You’re a little bit empty because there’s no silverware to go for.”
Hiddink on Pato and Costa
Willian (calf), Nemanja Matic (bruised leg) and Gary Cahill (hip) are available to face City and Hiddink is likely to make some changes following the loss at Swansea, when Alexandre Pato and Matt Miazga were among the starters.
Hiddink defended his selection of Radamel Falcao, as a substitute, and Pato, who made the first start of his six-month loan deal.
He said Pato “deserves to start one game at least, to give him the chance to show what he can do”, following his performances in training.
It is likely the Brazilian will make way for Costa, who is available after a three-game suspension.
Hiddink added: “He didn’t (take a break). He was working very hard, also individually when we were on the road. He’s very eager to play.”
Fixtures against Tottenham, Sunderland and Leicester mean Chelsea could still have an influence at the top and bottom of the table in the remainder of the season.
“We had a good week,” said Hiddink.
“What I ask from them is to go into tomorrow’s match and the rest of the league matches with the ambition and desire for a good run in the last games.”