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Hiddink: Baba Rahman needs to stop feeling sorry for himself, and play better defense, too

Clive Rose/Getty Images

While Guus Hiddink did admit that his decision to yank Baba Rahman at half-time of our match against Southampton was a "very harsh" decision, he made no apologies for what he obviously deemed a necessary move.  We've all seen the effects of giving far too long of a leash to certain players earlier this season, waiting for them to recover and rediscover their capabilities while backups and youth were wasted on the bench, so Hiddink acting decisively in this regard should be a welcome development.  Obviously, the substitution wasn't met with universal approval, but what's done is done.  The important part now is how Baba responds.

"He has to recover. You cannot always wait [to make substitutions] and we need everyone. He did some decent play in the recent games but we also like to be critical and defensively you have to do your job as well."

"I talked to him and Steve [Holland] talked to him as well. You saw when he put his shirt over his face on the pitch, he was thinking 'Oh what did I do now'. At half-time he was sitting in the dressing room [feeling] down before I announced it. Not just [because of his reaction] but that's why we made the change."

-Guus Hiddink; source: ESPN

The overarching theme of Baba's first season at Chelsea has been one of defensive frailty.  It's now been highlighted by both Mourinho and Hiddink and that's despite the latter being slightly more keen on giving youth a chance.  Baba offers plenty of excitement and attacking intent, but unless we're planning on converting him to a winger, he's going to have to double down on his defensive effort, positioning, and decision-making.  Feeling sorry for himself, like he apparently was also doing after Saturday's mistake, is not the way to do that.

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