Guus Hiddink says Per Mertesacker’s red card for Arsenal against Chelsea was “obvious”, and that the Blues could have had a penalty.
A London derby victory means interim boss Hiddink is now unbeaten in seven matches and the Blues undefeated in eight since Jose Mourinho’s departure last month.
Captain John Terry believes a top-four place and Champions League qualification is not beyond the team, despite a 14-point gap to fourth-placed Tottenham with 15 games to go.
Hiddink said: “With that gap, it’s difficult to go into fourth position. But when the captain is saying that I will follow my captain.”
Hiddink then discussed the sending-off of Per Mertesacker after just 22 minutes, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger bemoaning the striker’s role in the decision. Hiddink described the red card as “obvious” and felt that Cesc Fabregas’s call for a penalty when bodychecked by Laurent Koscielny was more contentious.
“There was no doubt. From what I saw (Diego Costa) was tripped,” Hiddink said.
“I had some doubts over the Fabregas penalty, yes or no. I can understand why the referee didn’t give a penalty, fair enough.
“But on Mertesacker’s red card, look closely. It was obvious I think.”
Costa was withdrawn in the second half with a knee problem, but Hiddink did not know the extent of the injury.