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Guus Hiddink defends Falcao substitution as Loftus-Cheek's stamina remains a concern

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Guus Hiddink arrived at Chelsea with the primary mission of removing the team from the possibility of a relegation battle.  He's been largely successful in doing, with Chelsea going on a 15-game unbeaten run in the Premier League since Mourinho's sacking. This unbeaten run ended on Saturday against Swansea City in a 1-0 loss.

During the match, Hiddink tried to make changes with the hope of finding an equalizer, and one of them was taking off young and promising midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek for old and disappointing striker Radamel Falcao. Apparently this decision had not been greeted with the greatest of cheers.

"[The fans] can be upset, but we do many things with 10 minutes to go. We have the right to change any player, any minute and of course they may be upset, but I would have changed him even if he had made a goal so that he could be applauded."

"The last game against [Aston] Villa, he had a cramp on 70 minutes but rather than substitute him, we let him go to have this experience. When there are more tight games in the score, when you're 1-0 down, then we have the right, and I will do so, to change whoever it is."

"It's important to understand that outside the efficiency and outside the action that he plays, that he must get used to the intensity of the games. Although some players might not be playing well, and I'm not just talking about him, we let them go and have the experience of 90 minutes."

-Guus Hiddink; Source: London Evening Standard

Concern over Loftus-Cheek's fitness has been a common theme for some time now, but that's not all that surprising given his persistently limited opportunities under the previous regime.  Even with Hiddink in charge, only lately has Loftus-Cheek started playing somewhat regularly.  Hopefully that will continue and the young man can break through whatever limitations he's facing so that he can play a real part under Conte and his intense, demanding ways.

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