(Reuters) – Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has hit back at his Aston Villa counterpart Remi Garde for showing interest in under-utilised Blues striker Loic Remy even as prolonged injury to another striker Radamel Falcao has compounded the Dutchman’s woes.
Garde on Wednesday said Villa will aim to sign Remy when the January transfer window opens but Hiddink was less than impressed by his remarks.
“It’s important, in the situation Chelsea are in, that we have the most powerful squad possible,” the Dutchman told the British media.
“He’s our player and you have to respect where the players are. If you are interested, talk first to the people with whom they are contracted,” Hiddink said of his French striker, who has managed three goals in 14 appearances across all competitions this season.
“You cannot go into details but the player has signed a contract here and must be fit for us first. He’s having a difficult time regarding his injuries. He has to prove first of all that he’s a good Chelsea player,” added Hiddink.
Remy has scored only once for Chelsea in the league and has started only in seven games since joining from Queens Park Rangers last season, with a calf injuring troubling the 28-year-old of late.
Huddink’s strike options remain limited as the Colombian ace Falcao suffered a relapse of his thigh injury which may keep the forward out of action till January end.
“It’s the inside of his thigh and it’s the same now as it was before,” Hiddink said.
“He’s having treatment at the moment but he cannot appear on the pitch. We hope within 10 days he might be fit again but not to play,” added Hiddink.
Falcao, on loan from French side Monaco, last played for Chelsea in the home defeat against Liverpool in October and has scored a solitary goal for the reigning champions.
Chelsea, who are just three points clear of the relegation zone, visit the fifth-placed Crystal Palace on Sunday.
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)