Chelsea will on Monday travel to Paris for their Champions League last-16 first leg with confidence restored by Guus Hiddink and an emphatic defeat of Newcastle.
The Blues’ Premier League title defence has been chaotic at best, but Hiddink has restored stability and Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 games since Jose Mourinho was sacked on December 17.
A Pedro double, plus goals for Diego Costa, Willian and Bertrand Traore earned a 5-1 win over the Magpies on Saturday, the only blot on the performance a hamstring injury for John Terry.
The captain’s readiness to play at Paris St Germain on Tuesday night was to be assessed by a scan on Sunday, but Hiddink hinted afterwards the Blues would not risk the skipper.
Whether Terry is fit to feature or not, Chelsea’s mood is good.
“We killed them in 20 minutes and then it was more and more easy to play,” Willian told Chelsea TV.
“Now we have more confidence to go there and to play. Paris have a great team, great players, but we go there to try to win the game.”
Willian and Costa, who played in a protective face mask after breaking his nose in training on Thursday, revelled in the miserable Magpies defending to lead the destruction of Chelsea’s visitors.
Costa struck his eighth goal in 10 matches – seven in eight Premier League games – to begin the rout.
Willian added: “Diego is a great player. We have no doubts about him, about his quality. He’s scored so many goals.
“I gave one assist for him, he gave one to me. I enjoy a lot playing with him.”
Costa was determined to feature after the blow to his nose.
Hiddink added: “He’s sharp. He wanted to play desperately.”
Newcastle fell into the relegation zone, beneath Norwich on goal difference, and have more than two weeks to contemplate the loss and the remaining 12 games.
Steve McClaren takes his players to Spain for a training camp, where he hopes they will regroup and react in the next game, at Stoke on March 2.
“We’ve had about four or five (games) and this was probably one of them where we’ve not performed and shot ourselves in the foot,” McClaren said.
“We’ve always come back and reacted. That’s the key thing. It’s a case of sitting down, making sure we react.
“The 18 days are good. We’ve got to be realistic and we can’t let this derail us.
“We have to show character and fight. There’s only four or five times in the season I’ve been disappointed with that.”