Chelsea players must relieve Diego Costa of scoring burden - Hiddink
Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink has told his attacking players that the goalscoring burden does not fall on Diego Costa alone.
Costa is the Blues' highest scorer in the Premier League this season with five goals, two of which were delivered in the recent 2-2 draw with Watford --Hiddink's first match in charge since replacing Jose Mourinho.
Hiddink knows he must get the best out of his main forward as Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy are in the treatment room, but he believes the Spain marksman needs help from his teammates.
"Diego is focusing very much on his job and that's a lot of responsibility. He's brave and he likes to be like that,'' Hiddink said. "It's a lot of responsibility, but not just on Diego. He has a big temper and wants to perform and is keen to score, but the other attacking players must play a part in assists and goals. It's not just him.
"There's a lot of technical skill in the midfield and attacking positions. We have to see how the players can become even more productive and take the next step.
"We're trying to get them into good positions in the box so that their high quality has more effect. They have the quality. Now they have to be productive with assists or goals. It's not just about Diego.''
The ailing Premier League champions face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday hoping to avoid the double after losing 2-1 to their London rivals in August.
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In a remarkable season Chelsea find themselves three points above the relegation zone while Palace occupy fifth place, an example of a wider trend in which smaller clubs are upsetting the established order.
"I don't know if it's true the bigger clubs will eventually pull through,'' Hiddink said. "Normally you see teams like Leicester or Palace or Watford starting surprisingly well, let's say until the leaves are going to fall, and then they will have some problems. But they've managed to maintain their good performances.
"First of all, they have a good balance in their team. They're not just doing it on willpower, but on quality.
"If you rely just on willpower, then you will fall some day. But they have the quality as well. Watford have very good strikers. Leicester too.
"The rest are very well organised. I think this will last until the end of the season.''