Belfast Telegraph

Guus Hiddink back at Chelsea with 'shape up' call

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Guus Hiddink was unveiled as Chelsea's interim manager yesterday and told his players that they have a "profound obligation to perform", or else he will be getting rid of them.

Speaking for the first time since replacing Jose Mourinho, Hiddink said that he should not be taking over mid-season and that the playing squad should take responsibility for turning Chelsea's campaign around.

"I shouldn't be here, halfway into the season," said Hiddink, who performed a similar role seven years ago.

"That means that things are not going as well as foreseen at the beginning of the season."

Chelsea are 15th in the Premier League table and Hiddink said that any players who did not have the stomach to fight to turn the season around, starting at home to Watford on Boxing Day, would not be involved.

"I spoke fully to the squad and, of course, we talked a bit about the past and why I'm here," Hiddink said.

"I told them things happen in football, and I want everyone to look in the mirror, not just for two seconds, but longer.

"To see what anyone can contribute from now on to raise us up."

After everything that happened between Mourinho and the Chelsea players, Hiddink told the squad that they would have to knuckle down and play for him if they wanted a future at Stamford Bridge.

"There must be a great desire to play," Hiddink insisted.

"If you don't have that desire, please knock on my door and we'll talk, briefly. I will not beg them to perform. They have a profound obligation to perform.

"They are here at a big club. They are well paid.

"They must have the heart and desire of an amateur. If they don't have that desire, then I will say 'Thank you and goodbye'. I don't need players who don't have desire."

When Hiddink took over in February 2009 he inherited the first squad Mourinho built at its peak, with big players at the top of their games.

It is not quite the same this time.

"[It was a] different group of players," he said.

"If you see the players at that time, although they were not performing well, they were Drogba, Lampard, Ballack, Essien.

They were big players at that time. Leaders. Now we also have big players, but it's difficult to compare. I want a spine, to have strong people who can lead and coach during the game as well."

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