Zola hopes for more goals from Hudson-Odoi
Gianfranco Zola insisted that Chelsea want Callum Hudson-Odoi to stay at Stamford Bridge after the highly rated teenager scored on what could be his last appearance for the club.
The England youth international was on target in between a Willian double as Chelsea defeated Championship side Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 in the FA Cup fourth round yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The match took place just hours after press reports said Hudson-Odoi had handed in a transfer request, with German giants Bayern Munich previously linked with a move for the 18-year-old winger.
Asked after full-time if he had played his last game for Chelsea, Hudson-Odoi told the BBC: "I don't know, I can't say. I'll keep working hard and you never know what will happen."
His 64th-minute goal prompted a chorus of "We want you to stay" from Chelsea and Zola, the Blues assistant manager said: "We want him to stay as well, we were singing too. We believe in what he can do for us.
"I don't think there are many 18-year-olds around Europe who are are playing as much as him in a big team. That shows that we believe in him, we think he can be an important player for us... He has a lot of strong players next to him, but we still find the space for him to play."
Meanwhile, Gonzalo Higuain, who joined Chelsea on loan from Juventus last week, made his debut against Wednesday yesterday. The 31-year-old looked sharp with some intelligent runs before coming off for Olivier Giroud with 10 minutes to go.
"We're pleased with his performance, he was trying to find the space and get on the ball. It wasn't easy as they had a lot of players around him," Zola said of the Argentina striker's contribution.
Higuain has been brought in to replace Alvaro Morata, who joined Atletico Madrid on loan yesterday. - AFP, REUTERS