Guus Hiddink wants Chelsea to continue expressing themselves as an attacking force following their impressive 3-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Oscar, Willian and Diego Costa were all on target as the reigning champions won on the road in the Premier League for the first time since August, moving six points clear of the bottom three in the process.
Chelsea’s attacking spark scarcely flickered during the closing weeks of Jose Mourinho’s reign but Hiddink was delighted to see creative talents such as Cesc Fabregas and his goalscorers back on the front foot at Selhurst Park.
“If a team is not doing well during a very long period then it is rather human to look for security and that is why we emphasised the good hard work tactically in a defensive way,” he explained at a post-match news conference.
“That means that I don’t like to see a team drop back very far to seek false security but to look forwards and try to get the ball as soon as possible.
“When they get the ball, they know how to play. We do not need to add a lot to the quality of the players. They are blessed by nature with big quality but they have to know that once things are going not as wished that we have to look for the causes.”
A common criticism as Mourinho’s tenure tempestuously wound down was that Chelsea’s creative players were not fighting for the cause and Hiddink insists this is not something he will tolerate.
“The players have also started to invest in what I call the dirty work, not just the beautiful game that they can play because this league is very demanding,” the Dutchman added.
“If you think that you can do it just on your quality, given by talent and nature, then this league is killing you.”
Hiddink highlighted Oscar’s efforts in these less-glamorous tasks, even if he appeared amused by the Brazil international’s lack of prowess in the tackle.
“Oscar was doing what is not his big quality – he started tackling a bit,” he continued.
“Then they go over the top a bit in tackling. They don’t know how to do it well!
“But the attitude is okay and then automatically they come and play with their quality.
“We have to be critical over the past half year that the efficiency of this quality was very low.
“We talked about that, we did it in training. Those are not big conversations but if they have this quality and the team is well organised then they must produce. Then we enjoy how they can play.”