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Injury could finish Deco's season

Chelsea star Deco
Portugal star Deco has been plagued by a hamstring problem

Deco could miss the rest of the season after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury in Chelsea's 1-0 win at home to Manchester City.

The Blues playmaker limped off during the first half at Stamford Bridge.

"After 20 or 25 minutes he had this problem again, so he will be out again for a while," said boss Guus Hiddink.

"I think Deco will recover very shortly," added Hiddink. "He'll have to be very fit to come back this season. I have my doubts to be honest."

The Brazilian-born Portuguese enjoyed a bright start to his Chelsea career after joining from Barcelona last summer scoring two league goals in his first two matches.

It's getting tight at the top

Guus Hiddink

But he has struggled to recapture that form and has scored just one league goal since August.

Deco came off after 40 minutes in a game that was decided by Michael Essien's first-half goal as Chelsea moved to within four points of leaders Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

The scoreline did not reflect their superiority over City, who were second best throughout.

Hiddink admitted: "It was a deserved victory but we should have scored two or three more. We kept them in the game and have to improve our ability to score.

"We should have killed off the game - until you do that the opposition always have a chance to come back."

Mouth of the South

The Dutchman added: "It was good that we kept the pressure on Manchester United. It is not easy to chase them because you have to win every game. So far we have.

"It is getting tight at the top and this is good, and will make for a tense finish to the season."

City never looked like finding an equaliser after Essien's goal, with Robinho struggling to make an impact.

The Brazilian, who looked set to join Chelsea before his shock move to Eastlands last year, was barracked by the home fans before being substituted in the second half.

Mark Hughes with Robinho
Robinho was taken off by Hughes in the second half

"He is a real attacking threat but we couldn't get him into the right areas," said City manager Mark Hughes.

"Robinho is still feeling his ankle injury. It is a little bit sore, but it's a disappointment we didn't get him into the game as much as we would have liked."

Hughes felt his players were jaded following their Uefa Cup match against Aalborg.

He said: "Playing on Thursday and early Sunday had a negative impact. It took the edge off our play and we also had key individuals missing.

"I would like to have freshened up the side but I wasn't able to do that. We looked a little bit leggy.

"The goal we conceded was disappointing because we switched off and Essien was able to get a shot on goal.

"After that I think Chelsea were comfortable and happy to protect the lead they had."

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see also
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day
Chelsea 1-0 Man City
15 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Live text - Premier League
15 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Chelsea sign Barca playmaker Deco
30 Jun 08 |  Chelsea
Sunday's football photos
15 Mar 09 |  Football

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