Guus Hiddink is not getting carried away by Alexandre Pato’s excellent Chelsea debut in a 4-0 win at Aston Villa the Dutchman described as “not the toughest” game.
Pato finally got his first taste of the Premier League when introduced as a 23rd-minute replacement for the injured Loic Remy at Villa Park, with the Brazilian going on to win and score a penalty before having a hand in two further goals.
Hiddink, however, will reserve judgement until Pato faces some tougher opponents.
“It was good to see him coming in,” Hiddink said. “I could have brought him in earlier but now with his physical condition he can show his quality and that is why he has come in the team relatively late.
“It was not the most toughest game, you have to take that into consideration, so we will see how he copes against more resistance.
“He has been suffering, literally, doing extra work with the fitness coach and other coaches and the other players see that and are happy for him so they are relieved to see him score his first goal.”
Remy, meanwhile, could miss the remainder of the season with the groin injury he sustained.
“It is a tendon, a groin problem,” said Hiddink. “I think he will be out for a long period.”
Asked if Remy would play again this season, Hiddink added: “I can’t say because the doctor has to make analysis, and next week we will know more.
“But if you go out with this injury, my experience is you will not recover in just a few days.”
It is another injury blow for Chelsea, who were without central defenders John Terry and Gary Cahill at Villa Park.
Blues captain Terry has a minor Achilles problem, while Cahill returned from England duty with a knock, which surprised Hiddink.
“He was on the bench (against the Netherlands), did the warming up, didn’t play but came in the club a day later and appeared to have an injury,” he said.
“I cannot neglect the facts as they are. He didn’t play but he came in to us with an injury.
“We will see what will happen with his progress in the upcoming days.”