Football: Hiddink's minding his own business

Chelsea have enough problems of their own, with Guus Hiddink overseeing a 0-0 draw at Watford on Wednesday. Diego Costa was lucky to escape a red card despite several run-ins with the opposition.
Chelsea have enough problems of their own, with Guus Hiddink overseeing a 0-0 draw at Watford on Wednesday. Diego Costa was lucky to escape a red card despite several run-ins with the opposition.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Chelsea boss not thinking about van Gaal as he's got enough on his plate at the Bridge

LONDON • Guus Hiddink has refused to get involved in the debate concerning the recent struggles of compatriot Louis van Gaal at Manchester United because he has "enough problems" at Chelsea.

Van Gaal remains under immense pressure at Old Trafford with United currently fifth in the Premier League.

Hiddink has helped Chelsea show glimpses of improvement since taking charge as interim manager in December but his side are still languishing in 13th place, 16 points from the Champions League places.

"This is a big match," he said ahead of tomorrow's meeting with United at Stamford Bridge. "Both have been big clubs, through the years. You know the recent history of this club (United). Of course they have under-performed.

"We are getting a bit back on track though I would like to have more victories than unbeaten draws but step by step, the team are more stable and we hope to go into a beautiful spring time.

"It's difficult for me to judge their (United's) problems, I have enough (at Chelsea).

"I have a professional relationship with Louis. We haven't met that much in our professional life in Holland. A few times but not many.

"We can talk the whole morning about Manchester United but I am wearing a different colour. Every club during the season have periods where they might worry a bit. We had that as well, so I don't like to go too much into other people's kitchen.

"Louis has to perform, that is normal as we have to perform here. There is pressure and they have to cope with that. The pressure is on, it's on everyone, but if you have the possibility to go into the first position, then the pressure is on."

Chelsea have a near full-strength squad, although Alexandre Pato, on loan from Brazil's Corinthians, is still not close to consideration.

"The squad are looking okay," said Hiddink. "The players seem to be very fit, except that (Radamel) Falcao and (Loic) Remy are not.

"Pedro did good training this morning and we will see how he reacts after an upper leg injury, but I don't think there will be big problems.

"Pato is in his pre-season and we have made a training plan which he is doing now every day at least once but lots of days twice. He will not be in for the upcoming few games. We want to have him fit, not going to play him too early for the risk of injury in this tough league.

"He is skilful, that's what we know. He is ambitious of course but he needs more physical fitness. He played his last game on Nov 28. I hope he can have an impact."

Hiddink insisted there has been no development on any further talks with John Terry, as the captain gets ready for a first home game since he announced he would be leaving in the summer.

"I don't notice any change because first of all, he is a very experienced player. He has gone through good things and storms in football which means he is very experienced," the manager said. "He likes to train and is having his laughs. We don't have any updates regarding his situation."

The Dutch manager also insisted that there has been no bid from China for midfielder Oscar.

"The club doesn't know anything about this, so we are not going into speculation," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CHELSEA V MANCHESTER UNITED

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2016, with the headline 'Hiddink's minding his own business'. Print Edition | Subscribe