London: After Chelsea beat Norwich City to enter the top-eight of the English Premier League (EPL), its manager Guus Hiddink has set his sights on the European football next season.
Chelsea rode on first-half goals from Kenedy and Diego Costa to beat Norwich 2-1 on Tuesday evening and move to 39 points from 28 matches, five points adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United and eight behind Manchester City in fourth.
The win took Chelsea’s unbeaten streak to 12 EPL matches and Hiddink is confident that the defending champions will be able to finish in the top six and qualify for the Champions league or Europa Cup next season.
“First of all, we’re happy. It’s not Chelsea standard to be happy to be out of the relegation zone, and sit back and relax a bit. We have to set new targets now with the ambition of Chelsea in the direction of Europe,” Hiddink told the local media after the match.
“We have now won a few games in a row. We have to keep on winning. We have a tight schedule — Stoke, PSG, Everton — and the squad is not very, very broad, so we hope everyone is on board. If everyone is available, we’d like to go as high as possible towards the European spots,” he added.
Costa scored Chelsea’s second goal just before half-time, but television replays suggested that it should have been ruled off-side.
Norwich endured an awful start to the match after Kenedy put the visitors in front in the opening minute at Carrow Road. But to their credit, the hosts gave a spirited fight to their fancied opponents in a tough, physical contest.
“We have now won a few games in a row, which gives satisfaction of course. I think we were a bit sloppy in the finishing in the first half. We had a splendid start through Kenedy, a beautiful goal, but after that we had some options to get a second. We did in the end, but we should have killed it off already by then,” Hiddink said.
Talking about Costa’s goal he said, “I haven’t seen it yet but, if so, I can understand people are frustrated in the other dressing room,” he said. “If that’s the case, I can understand their feelings.”