Belfast Telegraph

Silverware still on Guus Hiddink's mind at Chelsea

Guus Hiddink is optimistic his second caretaker spell at Chelsea can still finish with silverware.

Chelsea's fall from Premier League title winners to the bottom half of the table has been remarkable and led to Hiddink being appointed as interim boss when Jose Mourinho was sacked in December.

But the Blues are unbeaten in 11 games since Mourinho left and Hiddink is undefeated in 10 games in all competitions ahead of Saturday's clash with Newcastle and knock-out competition fixtures against Paris St Germain and Manchester City.

The 69-year-old Dutchman, who won the 2009 FA Cup during his first spell in charge, said: "I hope we can be a bit on the edge now to go into spring time where we can achieve what this club must normally achieve."

Hiddink was called upon to restore stability and asked the players in individual consultations what had happened in their fall from grace.

"Coming from this very unexpected situation - and not giving a judgement about people in the past - it has caused a very uncertain situation in December," Hiddink added.

"I tried to make them think about their contribution, to the team or individually to help make the team win the title.

"There I was challenging and talking with the players, on an individual basis with most of them."

Chelsea face a summer of transition, with a permanent replacement for Mourinho to be appointed and potential turnover of players.

The likelihood Champions League football will be absent from Stamford Bridge, unless the Blues win the European Cup, could see players agitate for a move, with others reluctant to join the Blues.

Hiddink added: "When a club with a big status can offer ambition for the future, then the club stays attractive."

Chelsea play at PSG on Tuesday night in their Champions League last 16 first leg before the home FA Cup fifth-round tie with City.

City were unhappy with the scheduling and Manuel Pellegrini has threatened to field a weakened team as his side play Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine the following Wednesday.

Hiddink has sympathy for Pellegrini, making comments on fixture scheduling which were reminiscent of Mourinho.

"The Premier League must give the teams who are representing England in Europe a good schedule," Hiddink said.

"The commercial broadcaster must also think about giving the teams involved the chance to play, for instance, when they have to play on Tuesday, play games if possible on Friday.

"One day's rest in this tough league is vital for the teams playing in Europe."


From Belfast Telegraph