Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has warned his side they must use the sharp end of the season to impress incoming new manager Antonio Conte after their 14-man Premier League run was ended in a disappointing defeat to Swansea City at the Liberty Stasdium. Gylfi Sigurdsson lashed home the only goal in the first half to take Francesco Guidolin's side to 40 points and all-but secures their top flight status for another season.
The Blues were without captain John Terry, Gary Cahill, Nemanja Matic and Eden Hazard due to injury, the suspended Diego Costa or the rested Thibaut Courtois, and the last of experience showed as the west London outfit struggled for long periods in south Wales. The Premier League champions were restricted to brief opportunities on goal, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Alexandre Pato spurning the best of them, leading to a loss which ends their faint hopes of claiming a European place.
Italy coach Conte was confirmed as the new Chelsea boss from the start of the 2016-17 season and will take charge at Stamford Bridge after the summer's European Championships, but is already in regular contact with Hiddink. The Dutch coach has therefore indicated that with the new man watching on they must continue to perform their the season being over.
"It is not just for a new manager I think when you play for a club like Chelsea, in any club I think, you have to show what you are capable of and it is not just because or external motivation," he told reporters, according to Swans TV, during a post-match press conference. "The players are internally motivated, that is a key condition to play in a big club."
The Daily Mail understand that with Conte and Hiddink in constant contact, that the former Juventus boss is to replace Thibaut Courtois with Asmir Begovic in the Chelsea goal from next season. The Bosnian began from the start at Swansea, but Hiddink said it was as a reward for performances in training rather than due to any instruction from Conte.
"The idea behind it was Begovic being a good goalie, he has proven that already in many Premier League games, is doing his job very professionally in training form himself to get in good shape," he added. "Every training [session] he is 100% committed and also on top of that he is helping out Thibaut Courtois in a very good and professional way and that is why I rewarded him for him to play at least one time."