Hasselbaink's Warning To Chelsea
Dutchman says former club will be put to the test at Goodison.
Chelsea legend Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes his former club will do well to escape Goodison Park with any kind of positive result on Sunday.
The ex-Blues hitman, who scored 88 goals in a four-year spell at Stamford Bridge, predicts a close-fought affair as the Toffees look to pass a serious test of their top-four credentials.
Speaking to evertonfc.com, the now Nottingham Forest coach revealed he sees the Londoners in a period of transition - one that Everton will hope to capitalise on.
“It’s a difficult time at the moment; they [Chelsea] are trying to settle themselves in,” he said. “Obviously they didn’t get the result that they wanted in Japan [at the FIFA World Club Cup] but they came back and played really well against Leeds - particularly in the second half - then brilliantly against Aston Villa.”
With Chelsea rumoured to be hunting striking reinforcements next month, the burden for goals on Sunday will likely fall on the shoulders of Fernando Torres.
The former Liverpool striker has again found himself under close scrutiny this season but Hasselbaink believes he has shown he can handle the attention.
“At the moment he is improving by the minute,” he said. “He has now scored 14 goals so far this season and that is good by anyone’s standards. I think he can score more goals but I think he is doing really well at the moment.
“At times he looks really sharp, perhaps not as sharp as he was at Liverpool, but it’s just a case of him getting his confidence back, and goals will only help him do that.
“Having Rafa Benitez there too will help. It’ll be more familiar for Torres and you can see that in his form. He is improving.”
However, Chelsea are by no means a one-man band and Hasselbaink says Everton will need to be wary of threats from all over the pitch.
“They have quality,” continued the Dutchman, now 40. “You have the likes of Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Victor Moses, so there is lots of quality there. You have also got Frank Lampard coming back as well, so their squad is very strong.”
And the prospect of a no-holds-barred Goodison battle brings back fond memories for the former Leeds and Middlesbrough man.
“I enjoyed playing at Goodison Park in a way because you always knew you would get a difficult game,” he recalled.
“You would also know that the atmosphere was always going to be a great one. You knew what you were going to get, that it wasn’t going to be an easy afternoon and one where you would have to work really hard to get the three points. If you didn’t do that, you wouldn’t get them.
“It’s not going to be an easy match for Chelsea, especially with how Everton are playing at the moment. They are doing really well and hitting great form. David Moyes is doing a magnificent job and it won’t be an easy game.”