Guus Hiddink: Loic Remy may be out for 'long period' after hobbling off at Villa
Loic Remy's season could be over after the striker suffered a groin injury during Chelsea's 4-0 victory at Aston Villa.
Remy hobbled off after 23 minutes and shortly afterwards Ruben Loftus-Cheek opened the scoring. He was replaced by Alexandre Pato who, making his long-awaited debut for the Blues, went on to score and have a hand in two other goals.
While Remy has yet to be fully assessed by the club doctor, Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink fears the Frenchman will be sidelined for ``a long period".
``It is a tendon, a groin problem,`` said Hiddink. "I think he will be out for a long period.``
Asked if Remy would play again this season, he added: ``I can't say because the doctor has to make analysis tomorrow and next week we will know more.
``But if you go out with this injury, my experience is you will not recover in just a few days.``
It is another injury blow for Chelsea, who were without central defenders John Terry and Gary Cahill at Villa Park.
Blues captain Terry has a minor Achilles problem while Cahill returned from England duty with a knock, which surprised Hiddink.
``He was on the bench (against the Netherlands), did the warming up, didn't play but came in the club a day later and appeared to have an injury,`` he said.
``I cannot neglect the facts as they are. He didn't play but he came in to us with an injury.
``We will see what will happen with his progress in the upcoming days.``
Pato's performance was definitely the big plus for Chelsea from Saturday.
The striker, who joined Chelsea in January on loan from Brazilian club Corinthians, marked his first appearance for the Blues with a goal in the final minute of the first half. After Aly Cissokho had barged into the back of him, Pato picked himself up to score from the penalty spot.
Less than a minute into the second half, Chelsea had a third. Pato and fellow substitute Oscar, on at half-time for Kenedy, combined down the left side of the penalty area and Pedro turned in Oscar's low cross from close range.
Pedro netted his second of the game just before the hour mark and Pato was involved again. His curling shot was saved by Brad Guzan but he did not get enough on it and Pedro clipped in the rebound from an acute angle inside the six-yard box.
Hiddink said: ``It was good to see him coming in. I could have brought him in earlier but now with his physical condition he can show his quality and that is why he has come in the team relatively late.
``It was not the most toughest game, you have to take that into consideration, so we will see how he copes against more resistance.
``He has been suffering, literally, doing extra work with the fitness coach and other coaches and the other players see that and are happy for him so they are relieved to see him score his first goal.``
For Villa, little changed post-Remi Garde as their inevitable relegation from the Barclays Premier League drew ever closer.
It seems Villa's 29-year stay in the top flight will peter out with a whimper at some point this month, despite caretaker boss Eric Black's rallying call for the players to try to restore some respect in the shirt.
Home fans held up placards reading ''Proud History What Future?'' in protest at the club's dire predicament with 74 minutes on the clock to symbolise the club's formation in 1874. Alan Hutton's late red card confounded Villa's afternoon.
Black said: ``It's not pleasant but I fully understand the atmosphere. The supporters are understandably frustrated - as I probably would be if I'd only seen a couple of victories at home this season.
``The players are disappointed and what we must do is try to get the supporters back on side. The only way we can do that is by doing it on the pitch.
``It's okay showing it in the dressing room, kicking something, throwing something, but they need to do it out on the pitch and show the fans. Body language is important.``