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Hiddink “encouraged” as Chelsea battle to third-straight win

Norwich City v Chelsea - Premier League

NORWICH, ENGLAND - MARCH 01: Guus Hiddink interim manager of Chelsea and Steve Holland assistant coach are seen prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Chelsea at Carrow Road on March 1, 2016 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

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Chelsea is charging. Big time.

Sealing their third-straight Premier League win for the first-time since April 2015 on Tuesday night, interim boss Guus Hiddink has led the Blues from the relegation zone to the top eight in the table in just three months in charge.

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Chelsea beat Norwich City 2-1, but after leading 2-0 at half time they were pinned back by the relegation-threatened Canaries and were delighted to hold on and leave Norfolk with three points.

Speaking to the media after the game, Hiddink was happy his side withstood the heavy pressure.

“We didn’t want to go into the battle but they forced us to go into the battle, which they did very well because we were sloppy in the first half,” Hiddink said. “We started very well with the beautiful goal from Kendey and I think we could’ve finished it off in the first half but we were a little bit complacent in the last phase to finish it off. Then it was 2-0 but at the end they made our life very difficult.”

That said, a win is a win, and the Blues have now gone 12 games unbeaten in the PL since Jose Mourinho was fired last December.

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Is this streak important for the reigning champs to end the season on a high?

“Important, I think, every knows when we started in December. We were down almost in the relegation zone,” Hiddink said. “Then we had an in-between target to as soon as possible get out of that zone. Then we started to do that with draws and at the end now there are already a few games in a row we are winning and that is encouraging.”

Chelsea rose to eighth place in the standings and now has 39 points after 28 games. They still sit eight points off fourth-placed Manchester City (who also have two games in hand) and it will be a big ask for the Blues to make a monumental recovery and qualify for the UEFA Champions League via the top four this campaign.

That said, there’s plenty to be pleased about at Stamford Bridge at the moment. On top of their improved league displays, they have an FA Cup quarterfinal at Everton coming up and only trail Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 with the second leg of their UCL Round of 16 clash looming.

With battling back-to-back away wins at Norwich and Southampton in the last four days, the team is digging deep, Diego Costa has now scored five goals in his last seven PL appearances and youngsters Bertrand Traore and Kenedy made a difference in the latest win.

69-year-old Hiddink isn’t interested in replacing his interim boss tag with a permanent deal to be Chelsea’s head coach at the end of this season, but the veteran Dutch boss is doing a fine job of restoring confidence and pride at Stamford Bridge.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports