Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea boss Hiddink happy to thwart tough Norwich

Norwich 1 - Chelsea 2

By Matt McGeehan

Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink was breathing a sigh of relief last night after Norwich threatened to hit back and hold his side to a draw.

The Blues were 2-0 up at half-time after Kenedy struck after just 47 seconds and Diego Costa - who was clearly offside- added a second just before the break.

Nathan Redmond pulled one back for the Canaries with 22 minutes to go after Cameron Jerome had earlier struck the crossbar, but Chelsea held on for all three points as Norwich dropped into the relegation zone.

Hiddink said: "We didn't want to go into the battle but they forced us. We were sloppy in the first-half, starting well with a beautiful goal and I think we could have finished it in the first-half. We were complacent in the last pass. They made our life difficult.

"We were almost in the relegation zone and had a target to get out of there as soon as possible. We are now winning games in a row and that is encouraging."

Chelsea made four changes following the win at Southampton and Norwich made one of the incomers particularly welcome in the opening minute.

Eden Hazard switched the ball left for Kenedy, who cut in and was allowed to make space to shoot. After Ivo Pinto, Alex Tettey and Ryan Bennett failed to shut him down, the Brazilian fired home a low effort.

The Canaries felt aggrieved just before half-time when Cesc Fabregas took a quick throw to Bertrand Traore and he found Costa, who peeled round to collect the ball before clipping it over John Ruddy. Replays showed Costa was clearly offside.

Norwich looked dangerous in the second period and Jerome was unmarked when, with the ball at a difficult height, he swivelled and hit it on to the bar.

Hiddink sent on John Obi Mikel for Oscar and Willian for Traore. But the control he sought was lacking and it was soon 2-1 as Redmond latched on to a Hoolahan pass before rifling in.

Redmond twice went close to equalising and Costa slid the ball wide at the other end as Chelsea held on for the win.

NORWICH: Ruddy, Pinto, Bennett (Mbokani Bezua 60), Martin, Klose, Brady, Redmond, Howson, Tettey (O'Neill 36), Hoolahan, Jerome.

Goals: Redmond 68

Subs not used: Rudd, Jarvis, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Olsson.

CHELSEA: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Kenedy (Baba 69), Fàbregas, Matic, Traore (Willian 60), Oscar (Mikel 60), Hazard, Costa.

Goals: Kenedy 1, Costa 45

Subs not used: Begovic, Pato, Remy, Loftus-Cheek

Man of the match: Costa

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Lee Mason

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