Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has defended his late selection of Alexander Pato following his arrival in the January transfer window.
The Brazilian forward arrived from the Brazilian Serie A on a six-month loan deal but failed to make an appearance until his introduction against Aston Villa last weekend.
He was on the fringes of the team for the last two months, a decision taken by Hiddink who believes the player was not match fit prior to his appearance against Villa.
“He was counting down the days, and knocking on the door,” Hiddink told BT Sport.
“He was in preseason and I could have brought him on after 14 days or three weeks but it would have been irresponsible.
“He was not strong enough to battle in the league.
Pato scored his first goal for the club after he replaced Loic Remy before half time as the Blues went on to win the game 4-0.