Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink has come out in defence of his players ahead of their crucial last 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain.
The Dutchman particularly praised the attitude shown by Diego Costa since the departure of Jose Mourinho last December.
Prior to the showdown with Laurent Blanc's side on Wednesday evening, PSG tweeted a video montage titled 'Spot the fraud' on their official Twitter account featuring various superheroes, which also included a picture of Costa in a protective mask.
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Hiddink refrained from publicly criticising the club's actions but expressed faith in his Spanish star.
According to Sky Sports, he said: "I’m very proud of him the way he’s playing and, going not over the edge, but he likes to fight in the real way of the game.
"That’s what we like. I protect him and support him when he’s doing what he has done in my period at Chelsea."
Costa has enjoyed a resurgent run of form in recent months, scoring ten goals in 14 games across all competitions, but still needs to prove himself in the Champions League.
"He scored recently in not the worst league in the world," Hiddink continued. "In the Premier League he frequently is scoring now, since December, January."
“Before he had this problem of not scoring, as did the team. Let’s see and hope he can make it to the European level as well.”
Hiddink also offered a defence for Eden Hazard's lack of form recently, the Belgium ace struggling to rediscover his previous scintillating form.
"At that time when he was playing away in Paris he was in that period just coming back from a rather severe injury.
"We could not ask him to be game fit at that moment. He had two or three actions that looked like Hazard."
Chelsea's manager did concede, however, that it's time for the midfielder to deliver.
"We are some weeks further into the league and game fitness. He can and must show what he is capable of, which is more than the away game."
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