Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink is confident that his team will cope in the absence of John Terry for their Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
The Blues head to Parc des Princes for the crucial Round of 16 first leg without their central-defensive skipper, who picked up a hamstring injury in Sunday’s win over Newcastle United.
“We made a test this morning and it didn’t work out well,” Hiddink said. “He has a little problem with his hamstring and on a little tendon in his hamstring area. The decision was made to leave him at home. He was convinced he could not be of worth for the team at the moment.
“We had the problem in the previous game against Newcastle and we have practiced, not because one player got an injury, but we do a lot of practising where we put other people in central defence. So it was not a surprise for the players that we had to make some changes.
“Of course, not having John is a bit of a set-back, as a leader. But I am not the type of coach or manager who starts moaning, moaning and moaning. We have to go on and the players who will replace him, I have full confidence in them.”
The 35-year-old’s absence is compounded by the injury picked up by young French centre-back Kurt Zouma in their previous match with Manchester United, leaving Gary Cahill as the only first-team centre-back still available.
The most obvious solution available to Hiddink is to bring right-back Branislav Ivanovic into the centre of defence (the position he originally prefered), and deploy Cesar Azpilicueta as right-back with Baba Rahman filling in at left-back.
Hiddink could also drop a defensive midfielder, such as John Obi Mikel or Nemanja Matic, into the role; or give a high-profile debut to 20-year-old American defender Matt Miazga, a recent signing from New York Red Bulls.