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Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink admits Diego Costa’s absence for Monday’s Premier League match against Manchester United is “a setback”.
The Spain international will miss the Old Trafford clash after picking up his fifth yellow card of the Premier League season in the 2-2 draw with Watford on St Stephen’s Day.
Costa produced his best performance of an under-achieving season at Stamford Bridge against the Hornets, netting twice and showing a spark and an intent noticeably absent from his game in the final days of Jose Mourinho’s tenure.
“It’s a setback because he is now increasing his performance,” Hiddink said.
“I can complain a lot but that’s not my nature. We have to go on and find a solution as soon as possible, but it’s a setback.
“We go there and it will be difficult, but we go with hope. I hope this team will show in every game the ambition they showed [on Saturday] in going for a win anywhere.”
Manchester United suffered a fourth straight defeat in all competitions when they were beaten 2-0 by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday, but manager Louis van Gaal urged his side not to allow the run of poor results to inhibit them against the Premier League champions.
“You can say we can quickly get over this defeat by playing against Chelsea but in the time in between, you have to recover because the players have given everything,” he told MUTV.
“Then you have to manage that you are very confident to start the Chelsea game, and that you dare to play football – our football! It is very difficult to do that in just two days but we shall try.”