LONDON, Sporting Alert – Alexandre Pato will not make his Chelsea debut against Manchester United in Sunday’s English Premier League Week 25 round of fixtures because he’s unfit.
Pato joined the defending champions on loan from Corinthians during the January transfer window to help in the goalscoring department, but the Brazil forward is not yet match fit, according to manager Guus Hiddink.
In fact, Hiddink has revealed that Pato came to the club in preseason shape and will need a few weeks to prepare for the intensity of the English football.
“Pato is in his pre-season,” the Chelsea boss said. “We have made a training plan which he is doing now, training at least once but most days twice, which means he is getting his fitness back but not at full fitness yet.
“He will not be in for the upcoming few games because we want to have him fit and we don’t want to run the risk of injury in this tough league.
“Of course we know he is skilful, technically he is very good and he is ambitious. This is normal for me but he needs more physical fitness.
“He played his last game in November then had a holiday because it is a different season.
“So this is kind of a pre-season for him. We like to pressure him but we must be careful not to go over the top.”
Chelsea head into Sunday’s Barclays Premier League matchup with Manchester United looking to stay undefeated under interim manager Hiddink, but they will also know that they must start winning games if they are to win a Champions League or a Europa League spot for next season.
Manchester United fans, on the other hand, will be hoping for a similar performance like the ones against Derby in the FA Cup and in the last league outing against Stoke City.
Under pressure manager Louis van Gaal seem to have found a good system that has become fruitful, and the supporters will now hope the Red Devils can go on a run as they continue to dream about winning the league title.
Chelsea enter Sunday’s game unbeaten in their last six Barclays Premier League meetings with Manchester United — winning three and drawing the next three.
Manchester United have also had a poor run at Stamford Bridge in the Barclays Premier League — losing eight of the last 13 games, while winning just once and drawing the rest.
Chelsea (squad): Courtois, Begovic, Ivanovic, Fabregas, Zouma, Rahman, Oscar, Hazard, Mikel, Traore, Kenedy, Pedro, Costa, Matic, Willian, Cahill, Terry, Blackman, Azpilicueta, Amelia, Loftus-Cheek.
Manchester United (squad): De Gea, Romero, Varela, Borthwick-Jackson, Smalling, Blind, McNair, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Depay, Lingard, Mata, Januzaj, Pereira, Martial, Rooney, Keane.