GUUS HIDDINK will ask the fit-again Jose Bosingwa to contain Lionel Messi in next week’s Champions League semi-final meeting with Barcelona at the Nou Camp.
The interim Chelsea manager had faced a selection headache for the tie, with regular left-back Ashley Cole suspended after collecting two bookings, but Bosingwa’s return to fitness after a hamstring injury has alleviated his concerns.
The Portuguese is primarily a right-back but Hiddink considers him a more dependable option in the position than either Branislav Ivanovic and Julian Belletti, who both struggle against pace, and the inexperienced Michael Mancienne.
Bosingwa is expected to be given a run-out in his new position in today’s meeting with West Ham, although squaring up to Luis Boa Morte can only be so useful to a player who must stymie the best playmaker the world has to offer in Catalonia next Tuesday.
Hiddink is expected to rest several of his other first team regulars in a bid to keep them fresh for the trip to Spain, with Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack all set to sit out.
For all that Hiddink is determined to finish the season in second place in the Premier League after accepting Chelsea cannot realistically win the title.
Hiddink’s side are six points adrift of leaders Manchester United, who also have a game in hand on the Blues.
“We have to take the league seriously,” declared Hiddink.
“We have to be in the first few spots for qualification for the Champions League next year.
“We have to go for second or third place at least, so we have to take this game very seriously.
“As we said before, the pressure was always on Liverpool and us not to drop points, which we did. So, normally, we cannot go for the title. We have a very important game coming up on Tuesday, but also tomorrow.’’
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