Football: Hiddink ponders blues job

Guus Hiddink with the FA Cup in 2009 after Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 at Wembley.
Guus Hiddink with the FA Cup in 2009 after Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 at Wembley.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Dutchman adamant he is still weighing up his next move, despite talks about reprising role

LONDON • Guus Hiddink insisted yesterday that he has not decided whether or not to become the interim manager of Chelsea in the wake of Jose Mourinho's sacking by the football club on Thursday.

The Dutchman was in London for advanced talks with the club over his expected appointment.

He is also due to attend their Premier League match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge today.

Hiddink, 69, won the FA Cup during his previous spell as manager at Chelsea - also on an interim basis - but is yet to agree terms and admits that he still needs further convincing to take on the role.

"I want to gain as much information as possible," Hiddink told De Telegraaf. "Chelsea is in a bad situation and there are reasons for that.

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED

I want to gain as much information as possible. Chelsea is in a bad situation and there are reasons for that. Before I take a decision, I want to have insight.

GUUS HIDDINK, explaining his rationale

"Before I take a decision, I want to have insight.

"Whether or not I'm visiting their next match (against Sunderland) depends on my first conversation.

"Depending on the outcome, I will determine whether I remain longer in London to discuss the matter further."

Despite Hiddink's hesitancy, he is considered the front-runner for the post but his only role during today's match will be as a spectator.

Steve Holland and Eddie Newton conducted Chelsea's training yesterday and and could also be in charge for the visit of Sunderland.

Hiddink stepped into the Stamford Bridge breach after Luiz Felipe Scolari's sacking in 2009 and would be seen as a safe pair of hands by Roman Abramovich, the club's owner.

He won six Dutch league titles and the European Cup across two spells as PSV Eindhoven manager.

Yesterday, Abramovich promised the Chelsea players a fresh start, reported the Telegraph.

The Russian also confided that he had not wanted to sack Mourinho but felt he had no choice with the club just a point above the Premier League relegation zone.

The players appeared to be upset by Mourinho's departure, with captain John Terry describing the Portuguese as "the very best I have ever worked with".

"Thank You doesn't seem enough. Sad sad day," Terry wrote on his Instagram page. "Gonna miss you Boss. The Very Best I have EVER worked with, unbelievable memories together."

Despite reports of an increasingly toxic relationship between Mourinho and the Chelsea players, Terry joined Cesc Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta in paying warm tributes to the manager.

Fabregas tweeted: "Thank you for all you have done for me. I owe you a lot and we will all miss you. Good luck in the future."

Azpilicueta posted a tribute on Facebook: "With him we have achieved very important titles and memories for the fans that will remain in the history of Chelsea forever. He will always be remembered. Thank you mister."

Slaven Bilic, the West Ham manager, described Mourinho as "the best in the business".

"I'm surprised (by the sacking)," the Croat said.

"The Premier League is hugely going to miss him."

Eddie Howe, whose Bournemouth side stunned Chelsea with a 1-0 defeat of the champions at Stamford Bridge last week, said: "He won the league last year so you can't say that it didn't work out for him. He just went through a disappointing spell of results.

"In modern-day football, one result can swing opinions.

"You have to be ready for that.

"It is very difficult so you need a very level-headed chairman, owner and support from above."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2015, with the headline 'Hiddink ponders blues job'. Print Edition | Subscribe