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Guus Hiddink not giving up top-four aims, talks up youngsters Kenedy and Ruben Loftus-Cheek

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Chelsea's last match against Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup provided a good opportunity for manager Guus Hiddink to use some of our first-team prospects, which he did by handing Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kenedy some fairly significant minutes as subs. Speaking of the Brazilian youngster, Hiddink said that now that he's had time to evaluate all players in the team, Kenedy might just be of more use going forward.

"We have some youngsters and I am getting to know them better day by day. I now have a good impression of all the guys, and Kenedy is one who will stay until the end of the season because we might need him and we might give him more experience. He came on in the last game and he did well."

"I like his penetration very much. You see now that his level is up and down and that is why young players need to play, but they get a lot of experience on a daily basis from practising with the experienced guys. He will stay at least until the end of the season and further on."

-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC

A player who had an even better day than Kenedy was midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who scored his first professional goal in the match. But while Loftus-Cheek has the look and the stature of someone much older, and he's been around the fringes of the Chelsea first-team for a few years now, that doesn't mean the he hasn't still got a lot to learn.

"We have a lot of games to go and I was happy with his performance [against Scunthorpe]. The first day I came in I had not seen the statistics of when the players were born and I thought he was 22 or 23."

"He is a big guy, but he is 19 which means he still has a lot to learn and to get his experience, but whenever it is possible he will get his minutes, and it is good for him and the club to have a homegrown player."

-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC

We've heard such intentions before with Loftus-Cheek and other youngsters in the team; maybe this time they will indeed prove to unequivocally true.

Unlike Mourinho, who claimed he would only use the kids once all hope in the league is lost, Hiddink claims that he will "not hesitate" to use them "whenever possible".  That's certainly ambiguous enough to mean everything and anything and perhaps nothing as well.

"I have not specifically set a points target because, you know what the average score has to be, and that's very, very difficult. As long as we have, theoretically and mathematically, the possibility to go into fourth place I will not hesitate whenever possible to bring in youngsters as well."

"It's not that we are without chances to go there and then we bring in youngsters, no. If possible, but they must have the basic quality."

-Guus Hiddink; source: Daily Mail

Chelsea are 13 points behind 4th-place Tottenham Hotspur at the moment.  We would need to average 2.6 points per game (i.e. title-winning form) to reach the top-four benchmark of 70. Hiddink is probably aware of how difficult it would be for Chelsea to reach said benchmark, but he claims that he won't give up on the top-four as long as it remains a mathematical possibility.

"We have made a good sequence in the previous games. We have got some results and it will be very good if we continue that because we have a busy schedule coming up with tomorrow against West Bromwich and the Everton game."

"If we can cope with that with good points then what we have done the past weeks is bright, but that is something to say after the Everton game."

-Guus Hiddink; source: Chelsea FC

The Blues are currently on a five-match unbeaten run, four of which have come under by Guus Hiddink.  Famously, Chelsea only lost once during the manager's first spell in charge (22 total games); could we accomplish something very similar?  Early signs have been positive...

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